Erin Condon Gonyea
Previous Places You Called Home:
Born in Boston, lived 21 years,
Lakeland, Florida,Beech Mountain, NC
Newton Public Schools
Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts, BS in Education,
University of South Florida, Masters in Education Leadership and Administration
Polk County School System, Bartow, Florida 1978-2018 (40 YEARS)
Beech Mountain Affiliations (Club, Ski Patrol, Fire Department, etc.):
Beech Mountain Country Club
Why do you live on Beech Mountain? What are your favorite places/aspects?
My husband Dave and I were married on Beech Mountain in 1986, renewed our vows for our 25th. My Husband and I were raised in New England. We are both snow skiers, fly fisherman, and avid outdoor enthusiasts. I am also a lifetime equestrian. I own a horse and have him boarded full time up in Valle Crucis. I am a Daily Yoga enthusiast. My husband is a serious road cyclist, competing and riding in Blood, Sweat and gears for over 12 years, the Beech Mountain Metric, the Blowing Rock Classic, and the Roan Moan annually. We both Golf when we can fit in a round. The reason that we chose Beech Mountain as our home is because of its natural allure and rugged breathtaking beauty. We love the people, the seasons, and the fresh air and outdoor opportunities to enjoy the feeling of living in a place where the quality of life is second to none.
What is your vision for Beech Mountain?
I envision our town evolving at a slow, steadily but progressive pace. I believe that decisions made which affect our town as a whole must be made carefully, with a solid base of factual information cautiously with insurance that the decisions will have long term benefits for our town. I see our town as a place in which both residents and visitors can enjoy what we naturally have to offer, outdoor exquisite beauty, visiting our local businesses, lodging on the mountain, and making the connection of why we all love it so much. with growth comes the need to maintain a structure which can successfully support our town, including law enforcement, fire and emergency services, public works. All of the inner workings of our town are needed not only to accommodate the locals, but the swelling growth of our summer and winter visitors. Visitors keep returning bringing families because of the magic and connection they make while they are here.
Beech Mountain has been a well kept secret, a breath of fresh air, which because of its quaint town feel is now becoming an annual vacation stay for many. Tourists are starting to see what locals have felt for years. Beech mountain is a great place to live! We must continue to grow cautiously and timely but preserving its uniqueness which we all love.
Why should voters elect you to Town Council?
Voters need to know that I have always been a servant leader. As a school teacher for 27 years and a school administrator for 13 years, every decision made had to be based on fact and the correct information. All my decisions made have had long term effect on the students, parents, school, and community. In a position like this and town council, you cannot make decisions based on any bias or predetermined opinions.
All decisions must be made on credible factual information presented. Every situation and decision are completely different and must be treated as such. The decisions made will impact our town of Beech Mountain and its long-term wellness.
I am not a business owner. I have no hidden agenda, I have no personal or political gains in running for town council. It is certainly not a power position. It is a position for the people, a servant leader, representative of its town and council members should act as such. I am a long time Beech Mountain supporter who has made a conscious decision to spend the rest of my life in a place I am proud of and dearly love. I feel that town council members should be the best representation of the towns pulse. The council should be able to work cooperatively together moving forward in a positive but cautious manner including conflict resolution working together to meet the needs of the town and its people. I feel that is not the present case. I feel that the council is struggling through constant conflicts, allowing personal differences interfere with the goal at hand. they are at constant odds and trying to work through conflict resolution with no luck. The council needs fresh, positive, faces who have worked in a leadership role making major decisions for a large population which have improved the quality of life of a school climate, and school community. If elected on the town council I will being a positive mindset and approach to working through the town’s problems, needs, and willingness to work together cooperatively.
What top three significant issues do you see Beech Mountain facing and what is your solution to those issues?
I feel that an ongoing concern on Beech Mountain is our clean water source. I feel that maintaining our water source is critical and needs to be carefully monitored especially with our constant growth on the mountain. Upkeep and maintenance are mandatory to keep us independent and free functioning.
My second significant issue that keeps on recurring is our need for growth and improvement with emergency services on our mountain. We must have quality emergency, law enforcement, fire, and public works departments which are able to function without worry. Everyone on our mountain benefits at one time or another from emergency services. at the present time I am proud and amazed that all our emergency services and public works operate and function as well as they do, but they need more support. Our constant visitors benefit from these municipalities also I believe that we must look ahead at the future needs of our town, its need for support in these areas.
Finally, my last significant issue is our towns inability to come together to work collaboratively with events, and all things unique to our mountain. A town task force composed of club owners, ski resort owners, and business owners representatives of our town need to meet quarterly so that when events are planned, all parties work together so everyone benefits. The goal being one focus, one town, a successful event. There was a time when this did work and happen. I believe that even though all areas are growing, communication would improve with less misinformation and everyone is on the same page.
What thoughts do you have, if any, to improve the appearance of the Town (e.g. roads, clubhouse, public areas, entrance to Town, etc.)?
I feel that we are moving in the right direction on our appearance on the sides of the roads with the seasonal flowers, arrangements and decorations. The roads need some repairs, especially before winter arrives. Gravel roads need to be graded, fresh gravel, ready for high traffic from winter visitors. I also think we could use better street lighting on the parkway all the way around the mountain. We do have many dark and blind areas which are concerning. Like any personal home, buildings need upkeep. We need to make sure that updating and repair is being done by businesses to keep up a safe and inviting appearance in the town.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
My first order of business would be to form a Grant allocation committee consisting of town residents from a variety of backgrounds. I would then ask the committee to compose a survey which would be open to all residents offering suggestions of how the Grant monies should be prioritized, amounts allocated, and spent. A series of open meetings would be held open to the public to be allowed to speak and present reasons why monies should be spent and reasons why with viable data.
A list would be generated and sent out to the town public for final input. The council would them take all data and make decisions based on towns input and town needs. Everyone has buy in. Everyone has involvement.
How will you be responsive to citizens and to support and improve citizen involvement in city government?
My background has always been directly related to heavy community involvement. I welcome as much active participation, Committee formation, and major input. Councilmen must always be available and open to be approachable and available to all town people for input, suggestions, and expressing concerns. That is what the role of a “servant leader” really is!
Additional comments or concerns: