Outgoing Mayor Has High Hopes For Henderson
Posted November 5, 2003 5:55 a.m. EST
HENDERSON, N.C. — Voters in Henderson will elect a new leader for the first time in 24 years.
Mayor Chick Young's name has been on the ballot as a candidate for mayor 12 times, and he is on a first-name basis with most Henderson voters. However, this is one election where the longtime mayor is not running for office.
"In one respect it's a great relief and it was my choice not to run again," he said.
Young said it is time for a leader with new energies and new ideas, but replacing Henderson's most vocal cheerleader will be a tall order.
Embassy Square is a $15 million downtown renovation project that will add a new library and a cultural arts center near the city's new police station.
The mayor said many of downtown eyesores have been turned into real gems. Young is especially proud of the massive Aycock Recreation Center, that includes four ball fields, two tracks and an indoor swimming pool.
While the mayor can go on and on about a major hospital expansion and ideas for growth, he is sobered by the economic beating Henderson has taken in recent years.
"If anybody had told me some time ago that textiles would be where they are now in the U.S. economy, that tobacco would be about gone, that Henderson would lose Roses stores -- one of the state's largest employers -- and we would lose Harriet and Henderson Yarns, a 100-year-old textile mill, that I would say we would be almost dead," he said.
Young said Henderson is bouncing back with growth in tourism, the biotech industry and development. He said it is a city ready for new energies and new leadership.
"I'm anxious to return to the golf course more than once a week," he said.
Vance County has the largest unemployment rate in the state. Young said he wants to see people back at work.