Friends – It’s a very busy period for Blowing Rock Town government. The following are significant issues:
1. Removal of Major Memorial Park Trees – After ignoring a March 2016 report by an N.C. Forest Service arborist for more than a year and half some town officials recently began a move to eliminate a number of large trees from the front of the park on Main Street.The N. C. Forest Service did an update of their March 2016 report including critical parts that for some reason were removed from the original report that was given to the town council. The bottom line was a recommendation to eliminate seven of the large trees. The report says that the trees have become damaged by a disease caused by the stress of significantly increased year around park traffic, poor town staff maintenance practices, and cutting of roots by staff installing electrical lines for lighting of trees. Council was told that the N.C. Forest Service’s Nancy Stairs, who did not attend the meeting, will do a comprehensive plan for tree replacement, park traffic and drainage at no charge to the Town. Council instructed Jennifer Brown, Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation Director, to work with Stairs to provide this comprehensive plan for presentation to the December council meeting. It was agreed that with the exception of one dead tree no trees would be cut until the comprehensive report was received and approved by the council including specific, detailed recommendations on tree removal and replacement. The initial report from the N.C. Forest Service strongly recommended that the Town retain an arborist for permanent park work who is experienced in working with the effects of the very high year around traffic now in the park. Despite expressing alarm about tree liability issues town management admitted that they just had not gotten around to cutting down a large dead tree near the park playground. Despite the report council proceeded to vote 4-1 for holiday inflatables in the park that will encourage more foot traffic and the town had trucks running over park tree roots the first thing next morning hanging Christmas lights on the trees. Copies of the N.C. Forest Service Reports are attached. Stay tuned for further developments.
2. Another presentation was given on expensive cosmetic changes being considered for Sunset Drive. This time it was a summary of results from a public survey on the subject. Pictures shown by the presenter showed a serious need for resurfacing and lining Sunset Drive that would be relatively inexpensive but effective. Concern has been expressed by many residents about using property tax dollars for cosmetic projects before town infrastructure needs such as street and road resurfacing and lining are addressed in all parts of town.
3. The Inn on Cornish, a 21 rooms hotel, on West Cornish Rd. and Main Street proposed by Boone developer and builder John Winkler was unanimously approved by the town Planning Board. They strongly recommended that it be approved by the town council.
4. BRCA’s Development Committee will be meeting with town Planning Director Kevin Rothrock to inspect plans submitted by the former, never built “Mountainleaf” developer for 12 residential units to be placed on the downtown property behind The Speckled Trout, bounded by Morningside Dr. and Main St. that meeting will take place Tuesday. The committee will be issuing a report to you on the project right after their meeting. The developer will hold at community meeting on Thursday 11/30 at 5:30 P.M. at the Town Hall Council Chamber.
5. The newly elected Mayor Charlie Sellers and council member Virginia Powell will take office at the December council meeting.