Letter to the editor: What to do about Third Street?

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I am biased, both ways. Mountaire is a wonderful business addition to our community. Mark Reif, Mountaire’s public relations representative, became a good friend and president of the Siler City Rotary Club, where I have been a member for 50-plus years. His contributions there are greatly appreciated.

Mountaire gives generously to community projects, such as bicycles for Christmas. The Mountaire payroll is major for Siler City, Chatham County, and beyond. Mountaire water use is both critical to Siler City’s water budget and Mountaire recycles to prevent water waste, including rain that falls on their very large “impervious surfaces.”

I like chicken! Mountaire built on the site where the Moore brothers operated one of the first chicken processing plants in Siler City. They may not realize how embedded they are in the history of our community and the origins of the vertical integration of chicken production.

I do business on Third Street. These businesses have also supported Siler City Rotary Club, Baird Sales, Black Tractor, Siler City

Automotive, and S&J Plumbing and Pro-Kleen have all contributed regularly to Rotary Bazaar and auction for our fall fundraiser and have bought tickets for our spring money raffle. There are many other fine businesses on Third Street between 2nd Avenue and Mountaire.

I am not a customer and have not asked them for Rotary contributions or closure evaluations. Third Street formerly was Hwy. 64 and brings old to new Hwy. 64 and the new commercial strip that has grown up there as Siler City “followed the traffic” out to the bypass. Mountaire has emphasized the chicken trucks moving in and out of the plant; they must reach new Hwy. 64 bypass, but they also come in to the plant on Third Street.

We have experience. Third Street was closed for about six months to enable Mountaire construction. I asked the above business operators whether or not the closure affected their business. Baird said closure did not make much difference but some, and Black Tractor and Pro Kleen replied similarly. Siler City Automotive calculated losses at over $50,000 and S&J said that if Third Street closed again they would likely close their plumbing supply. I have driven down Third Street and past Mountaire more often as COVID-19 isolation has lifted, and have not encountered disruptive truck traffic; others at other times of day may have a different experience. Surely the town could place an observer to evaluate long enough to be useful.

What to do?

It would seem prudent for the Town Of Siler City and/or Mountaire to survey the businesses on Third Street. Information is a very useful start for decision making. Maybe they have already done this, and I am simply ignorant. The effects of closing Third Street can be evaluated; we did that, we can measure it. The town and Mountaire might decide that the problems they hope to solve by closure are not as significant as the problems they might create; or vice versa.

Dr. John Dykers

Siler City


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