Economic Development Update – March 2019
With the shift toward warmer weather (which will also, hopefully, be a little less wet!) and bringing forward the clock, it’s time to focus on the tourism season ahead. The County has just approved a hotel feasibility study, which will be conducted by the University of North Carolina School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI). The County believes the time is ripe for a hotel to establish itself in the region – with the renovation of the Old Courthouse and a variety of restaurants opening around the Hayesville Town Square, the area is fast-becoming a year-round tourist destination with first-class locations for fun, weddings, special events and corporate meetings. All around, Clay County can boast great restaurants and breweries, and has numerous events and shows throughout the year – all resulting from the amazing energy and achievements of our local residents and business people. The feasibility study will officially begin in May 2019, but a Task Team has already been identified to begin gathering the data needed for the analysis of the region’s potential.
Another important development relates to the Clay County Recreational Park Campground. I’ve already mentioned previously that the electricity improvements at the campground will take many campsites to 50amps, which is needed by newer and larger recreational vehicles. The campground will also undergo an ambitious landscaping overhaul under the supervision of the County’s Master Gardeners Association. A special thanks goes to Susan Patterson, Jan Kowalsky, and May Atkinson who are busy with the plans and recommendations for indigenous plants to be planted during the month of March. The County has also ended the old reservation lottery system and has set up its booking system on Reserve America. You can still call us at the County offices, however, if you need assistance in finding the right spot.
Along with the NC Works Career Center, the County is planning a Jobs Fair and Career Day, which will take place on the 2nd of April from 12:00 noon until 5:00pm at the Beal Center/Old Courthouse. The aim is to help local job seekers learn more about opportunities and careers at companies in the area, hopefully keeping more of our young people busier and ultimately financially independent. We will be hosting a range of companies in manufacturing and trades, but also in the hospitality industry and health care. Schools in the area are all invited to send students to learn about summer work and part-time jobs that may be of interest to them, as well as permanent jobs they can take up after graduation. If you’d like to know more about the event and how to set up a table to promote your business, please contact me by email or call me at the office on 828 389 0089.
As most of you are aware, the roads projects along Routes 69 and 175 will start this year and bring millions of dollars of investment into the area, as well as creating numerous job opportunities. While this may pose some challenges from a traffic standpoint, there is a silver lining in everything – with more people working in the area, this will mean more people eating out at our restaurants, shopping at our stores, and using our services. But, let’s still try to support our local businesses throughout this period and make them the first choice when looking for food, entertainment or buying goods.
The plans for the new Primary School are well underway with the process to approve the financing of the school, which is the next step before the contractors can be appointed. The County will be raising $3,404,000 in financing to match the $10,212,000 grant from the State Lottery Fund. If all goes as planned, the new Primary School will be completed by the start of the 2020 school year and will comprise a 62,373 square foot building designed for a core of 432 students. It will include 24 general classrooms, a Computer Lab, a Music classroom, an Art classroom, three Resource Rooms, and a two-classroom Day Care Facility. The new building will also house a gymnasium with a wood sports floor, a 74’-0 x 42’-0” basketball court, and seating for 138 spectators on bleachers. In addition, the building will include a full administration suite to serve the school, and a cafeteria/kitchen with the capacity to serve up to 383 students at a time. A Media/Tech room will also be equipped to serve as the Media Center for the school.
A “litter pick-up campaign” will be launched starting on Thursday, the 7th of March, and will encourage local citizens and businesses to do their part to beautify the area by picking up the unsightly litter that lines the main and arterial roads around the County. People who want to join with us to collect the litter are welcome to pick up free orange bags from the Transfer Station (Dump) and/or the new County offices at the government complex by the new Courthouse. Two orange bags of litter can be taken to the Transfer Station for free, or two bags can be left by the dumpster behind our old offices in town. We hope everyone who can will join in and help us get our beautiful county ready for the upcoming tourism season!