Archive for Dillsboro

New Bridge Planned For Dillsboro

vcsPRAsset_2559318_71914_a97405db-4343-4f0d-9c02-75946d9badeb_0The N.C. Department of Transportation is holding a public information session Thursday, April 30, for a new bridge on U.S. 23 Business just east of downtown Dillsboro.

The current bridge, spanning Scott Creek and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, was built in 1939 and is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. That means while it remains safe, it is in deteriorating condition and has weight limits restricting the kinds of vehicles able to use it. The new bridge will be built to current design standards and will not have the weight restrictions of the current bridge. The project is part of NCDOT’s overall bridge program to improve the condition of the state’s bridges.

NCDOT representatives will be available from 4 to 7 p.m. at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church at 18 Church Street in Dillsboro to share information on the project, and get feedback from drivers and residents. Interested parties can stop by any time during the session as there will not be a formal presentation.

Maps and proposals under review are available at the NCDOT public meetings website. Click on the listing for “Replacement of Bridge #27 along U.S. 23 Business over Scott Creek and Great Smoky Mountain Railroad”.

NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who wish to participate. Anyone requiring special services should contact Ms. Diane Wilson at (919) 707-6073 or by email at pdwilson1@ncdot.gov as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries

DillsboroLightsLuminariesPressReleasePhotoThe 31st annual Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries event is planned Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 12-13.
There will be free refreshments and entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, unique holiday shopping and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
College night will be held on Friday, Dec. 5, kicking off with the WCU Holiday Dancers at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a free paint-your-own ornaments program at Claymates (while supplies last.)
All four nights of the event, there will be a live Nativity scene at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church. There will be free parking and shuttle transportation from Monteith Park.
Come experience the spirit and splendor as the historic village of Dillsboro is aglow with more than 2,500 candles.
For more information, go to www.visitdillsboro.org or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/DillsboroNC.

Jarrett House Sold

The Jarrett House

The Jarrett House

The Jarrett House in Dillsboro has taken on a new primary owner and major changes are coming to the structure that was built in 1884. Jim and Jean Hartbarger announced yesterday to Constantine Roumel who also owns the Nantahala Village and Resort in Bryson City will become the new primacy partner. The Hartbargers purchased the Jarrett House property in 1975. They will continue as the administrators, oversee renovations, prepare for the opening in late April or early May, and coordinate marketing and brand imaging. Renovations are now under way to the lobby and the two dinning rooms. The parlor is being converted into an English Tea Room. Other renovations include a new face lift to the inn which will start this fall. The menu will also be changing with popular items remaining but new items offered will include pastas, salads, pastries, espresso and a full-service bar. The new owner Roumel is a native of Crete and resides in Europe yet spends much of his time in the US with offices in Atlanta and Orlando. The Jarrett House was penned to the National Register of Historic Places on March 1st, 1984 and is one of the oldest operating inns in Western North Carolina.

Gov. McCrory Concludes Sylva/Dillsboro Visit

Governor McCrory Hosts the Roundtable Discussion

Governor McCrory Hosts the Roundtable Discussion

Gorvernor Pat McCrory visited Sylva, North Carolina today, and met with business leaders at local industries as well as had a discussion with regional leaders and citizens. The Governor’s visit began with a tour of Jackson Paper Company where he spoke with both executives and mill workers to get a better understanding on how the company has coped during the recent economic decline. Following the visit at Jackson Paper, the Governor hosted a round table discussion forum at the Jarrett House in Dillsboro. Nearly 40 invited guests were on hand to hear the governor speak and ask him questions. Governor McCrory began the roundtable event with the following opening statement, “You know, what I want to do is first of all, I am here to have conversation with you. I’m not here to give a speech and we’ve got business leaders in here, we’ve got republicans, democrats, and independents here in this room and I want to welcome all of you. This is about governing and this is about leading now.” He went on to say, “For the people of Jackson County and Sylva, I’ve said it in 2008, this is one of my two favorite towns in North Carolina.” “I love the Main Street here.” During the 45 minute roundtable discussion the Governor touched on questions across a wide range of topics, including taxes, spending, state hiring practices, health care for the mentally ill and the tourism industry. When asked about criticism he has received regarding the states education budget, the Governor replied, “I want to also let you know, despite what you read, K through 12 spending is the largest this budget has ever been in North Carolina history.” WRGC’s had the opportunity to sit down with the Governor and ask how hi tour of the Jackson Paper Company went and why he chose to visit. “One is, I went to that company back in 08′ when I was running for governor and I wanted to see what’s changed since 08′ and what some of their challenges are. I want to get feedback from the industries that are making things. We’ve got to continue to be a state where we make and build, innovate and grow things. As Governor I am focusing on the agricultural industry, the manufacturing industry, and travel & tourism. We kind of take those industries for granted, and those industries margin a profit.” “I went there to listen, and not just to the head of the company, I went to listen to the employees. I met with their employees that work on the line and just trying to make it through the day.” At the conclusion of his stay, WRGC asked the Governor what he had learned about the needs of our area during his visit. “There are some very basic things that we can look at to make a positive difference. For example: Signage on state roads, that’s not too complicated. A lot of times its the small details that people are looking for. You just need to listen.”

Governor Pat Mccrory to Visit Historic Dillsboro

It has been announced that NC Governor Pat Mccrory will be visiting Jackson County on Thursday. According to an unofficial schedule he will begin a tour of Jackson Paper Company in downtown Sylva at 10 am and later in the day move to the Jarrett House in Dillsboro to have lunch and host a roundtable discussion with invited guests. Jim Hartbarger confirmed that he and his staff will indeed be hosting the Governor along with several others. Jim had the following to say, “The only thing we know is that he is going to have a round table discussion at lunch. They said that there would be between twenty and twenty-five people in the roundtable discussion.” Even though all details of the trip have not yet been made public Jim said that he and his staff are excited to add Pat Mccrory to the list of Governors that have visited his establishment. “We’ve been here thirty-eight years, so we have had may Governors during that time and we are honored to have him.” WRGC will be continuing coverage of the Governors trip to our area.

GSMR Steam Engine Service Delayed for Dillsboro Indefinitely

Recently Jackson County commissioners have been moving forward on a proposal to loan the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad $700,000 to aid in construction of a turn-table as well as to fully restore a steam locomotive. On July 4th, commissioners received a letter from Great Smoky Mountains Railroad owner and CEO Allen Harper. In the letter, Mr. Harper made it abundantly clear that the Railroad would not continue pursuing options to return train service to Jackson County at this time. Mr. Harper had this to say in the letter; “At this time we will postpone moving forward to finalize an agreement with Jackson County as we focus on the renovation and Bryson City turntable installation.” However, in his letter, Mr. Harper made it very clear that the return of Railroad service to Jackson County is not out of question for the future. Mr. Harper said, “We are considering our partnership with Swain County as a Phase one project and remain open to the concept of implementing the steam expansion into Dillsboro as a phase two at a later date.” In spite of great efforts on the part of County commissioners and other county leaders it does not look like steam locomotive service will return any time soon.

The Jackson County Commissioners released the following response:

From:  Jackson County Board of Commissioners

Date:  July 5, 2013

We received the attached letter from Mr. Allen Harper, Owner and CEO, of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.  We applaud the efforts of GSMR to rebuild the Steam Engine and concur with Mr. Harper that it would be in their best interest to devote their time and attention to Phase One of this project involving the engine restoration and construction of a turntable in Bryson City.  We are also most appreciative of Swain County’s interest in partnering with Jackson County for steam engine activity between Bryson City and Dillsboro.  We will follow the progress and success of this project and look forward to continuing our conversations with GSMR.  The GSMR is an economic engine to western North Carolina and we will continue to work with GSMR to strengthen our partnership.  Finally, we remain cautiously optimistic that the grant application for the construction of a turntable in Dillsboro will receive favorable consideration from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Jackson County has a structure/procedure in place for providing economic development loans/incentives to businesses in Jackson County and it was successfully utilized in the loans to WRGC, Jackson Paper, and Webster Enterprises.  In each of these situations, a formal application, pertinent financial information, and adequate collateral was provided to secure the transaction.  This same model can work for an economic partnership with GSMR.

Our immediate attention now shifts to other opportunities for improving the business community in Dillsboro.  We anticipate Duke Energy will offer the river property on the south side of the Tuckasegee for development of a park/recreation area in the near future.  If the Town of Dillsboro decides to forego the gift then it is our understanding that it will be offered to Jackson County.  We would welcome the opportunity to accept this property and develop a park/recreation area in Dillsboro.  This could be the beginning of increased river activities which could positively impact the business environment of Dillsboro and complement the future train activity.  We will also encourage our Jackson County TDA to look closely at their marketing efforts in this area since the hotel rooms in the Dillsboro area generate a significant portion of the funds they receive.


Dillsboro 4th of July Fireworks Cancelled & Rescheduled Due to Weather Concerns

Jean Hartbarger, of the Dillsboro Merchant Association has just announced that the 4th of July fireworks show in Dillsboro has been cancelled due to weather concerns. The decision was reached during a joint meeting of the Dillsboro Merchants Association, the company providing the fireworks: East Coast Pyrotechnics, and Jackson County Parks & Recreation Director Jeff Carpenter. The decision is in conjunction with the decisions made by surrounding towns and counties to postpone their firework events. The main concerns are safety and cost, once the pyrotechnics are prepared to be fired the county has to pay for them regardless of weather or other factors. East Coast Pyrotechnics also had major safety concerns about the weather and stated that postponing may be the best idea. The band Porch 40 has also cancelled and rescheduled their show to September 20th during Western Carolina University’s Family Night. The Fireworks have been rescheduled to December 14th in accordance with the 30th Anniversary of the Dillsboro Luminaries.

The Town of Dillsboro Annual 4th of July Celebration

The Town of Dillsboro will be holding it’s annual 4th of July festivities from 4 pm til dark. Entertainment will begin at 5 pm on the main stage which is at the intersection of Church Street and Front Street. For a map of the area click HERE. Enjoy free play with games around town including; Checkers, Horseshoes, a Cornhole and more. There will also be a free live concert featuring the music of Porch 40, the concert starts at 7:30 pm and will run til the fireworks begin. The fireworks will be shot from Harrison Quarry, as is tradition. The fireworks show will begin at around dark (usually on or about 10 pm). Bring your own blanket and/or lawn chair and enjoy the show. Just ask a local for the best spots to watch the fireworks!