Title: Oral History Interview with Raymond Rapp, November 17, 2000. Interview K-0253.
Interviewer: Amberg, Rob
Interviewee: Rapp, Raymond
Subjects: Mars Hill (N.C.)--Politics and government Rapp, Ray
Abstract: In this interview, Mars Hill mayor Raymond Rapp outlines his vision for planned development in Mars Hill and Madison County. He is seeking balance—between the desire for a small-town feel and a big-town economy; between the need for routes in and out of the area and the need to preserve the environment; and between the insularity of a small community and the need to bring in new residents. Rapp is an optimistic and active manager who started small—with the construction of a gazebo—but aims to make Mars Hill the gateway to a thriving, but still naturally beautiful, area. The interview provides a valuable look at the way a community faces the prospect of growth as well as at efforts toward responsible expansion. By making Mars Hill attractive, Rapp hopes to lure new businesses and residents as well as to maintain an atmosphere that will encourage community solidarity and a small-town feel. The interview emphasizes how important extensive planning is in preserving towns against aggressive, wasteful, and ugly development.