As the season changes into fall I can report a very busy summer tourist season in the Village. Visitors were out in numbers and as we move into the cooler Fall leaf season, I think this trend is likely to continue. In just one example, Emily Walker, Director of the Chimney Rock Park Management Group, said Chimney Rock Park had record breaking attendance this past Labor Day Weekend.
As we continue to cope with the increased visitation, we have put Part 2 of our Village Streetscape Project out to bid. We are hoping to receive bids for an early October bid opening and then begin work on this project around the first of December. The project could take about 9-10 months. We will work with the contractors to make sure all businesses have access to their front doors and that no work is done on weekends or during holiday times.
These busy times remind us of how much work the Village faces in upgrading our physical facilities to handle the crowds. We will need to review and update our Village comprehensive plan this winter as it hasn’t been updated in several years. The streetscape plans that came out of the Tourism Development Authority’s (TDA) Rutherford Bound Initiative did tie in to our comprehensive plan but I feel it is time for the Council to revisit this and make sure the plan is serving our needs and preparing us for the future.
And speaking of the TDA and their efforts, Rutherford Bound will be celebrating their 5-year anniversary this fall. This was and is a collaborative effort between the TDA, Rutherford County, and the county’s towns and municipalities. These community stakeholders worked together to create a vision for the future of the county and developed plans and projects to improve each community. These projects are funded by a combination of occupancy taxes paid by visitors to hotels, B&Bs, vacation home rentals, etc.; local contributions from the incorporated towns; donations from businesses and individuals; and grant money.
This has been an extremely successful effort and has succeeded in drawing the county together and produced some very tangible and dramatic results. In Chimney Rock Village it produced our Village Square and the soon to be started Streetscape Project 2; widening and beautifying the sidewalks in the very center of the Village. To find out more about this initiative and view plans, maps, videos, etc. of Chimney Rock projects and others around the county, visit the website – https://rutherfordbound.com/news/what-is-rutherford-bound/
In other Village news we received 5 new bear proof trash cans which have been placed along Main Street. The plan is to buy 5 more next summer. We split them over 2 budgets because they are not cheap. It is expensive keeping those bears away from trash. Project 2 of our Streetscape plan also includes bearproof trash cans and recycling cans.
Around the Village you may have noticed changes at the Carter Lodge which has been undergoing extensive renovations. Derek and Kim Hennessey are partnering with Linda Carter and have remodeled all the guest rooms, built an ADA ramp to the river side, added an outdoor cooking station, and will soon have a Market and Deli open to the public. You can check out their new website for more details: carterlodge.com.
I would love to report on your plans, projects, ideas, suggestions, or thoughts about our beautiful Village in future Breeze articles. You can email me at email@example.com or call 828-625-2479.
Remember that the Chimney Rock Village Council always meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 pm in the Chimney Rock Volunteer Fire Department building (unless a special meeting is called or the Council votes to change a particular date). Our next meeting is Tuesday October 17. Please contact Peter O’Leary 828-545-1243 or Village Clerk, Steve Duncan 828-777-5718 if you have any questions or concerns.