This time of year, there is a slow period downtown between the end of August where kids return to school and before the leaf season begins.
This past Sunday afternoon the Center for Life Enrichment sponsored the inaugural Porchfest event. It was a celebration of music throughout the downtown with the goal of having folks stroll from one musical event to another.
Porchfest is a great idea and was very successful despite the rainy weather on Sunday afternoon. Musicians filled the downtown air with all types of music. I hope Porchfest will become an annual event. With the predicted 40-degree temperatures tonight and into the weekend, the fall leaf season should get off to a roaring start.
The work on the sidewalks at downtown intersections continues. Harrison Construction is the contractor that the state has hired to redo the curbing and ramps. These new curbs will meet current ADA standards. They really improve the appearance of the sidewalks. The next phase, slated for this coming week, will be at the Main and 4th Street intersection. Expect some minor delays and slowdowns. he rains this week put the work behind schedule.
I met with leaders from Pisgah Legal Services this past week. They recently opened an office near the Blue Ridge Clinic in the Jane Woodruff Building at the hospital. Pisgah Legal Services specializes in providing services to the underserved workforce of Western Carolina. They assist clients in critical areas such as housing, domestic violence, consumer debt, healthcare access and child services.
The Dogwood Heath Trust has given them a substantial grant to help working folks qualify and obtain the recent child tax credits that were enacted by the federal government. For a qualifying family, that means several thousand dollars per child which can make a real difference for that family and their children.
Pisgah will be seeking volunteers very soon to assist in this effort. For more information, please call Megan Quattlebaum at 828.575.1353. Pisgah is a nonprofit organization and is always in need of our financial support to meet this important community need.
People have asked about the tall concrete form on the new fire department site. It is the elevator shaft that will connect the fire department offices and truck bays to the second-floor barracks. The concrete walls for the entire building are now taking shape. Once these walls are completed, the steel frame for the remaining portions of the walls and the roof will be in place later this fall.
Tom Neal announced on my radio show last week about plans for rapid COVID testing sites in Highlands and Cashiers. Testing will be available two days a week in Highlands and two days in Cashiers. More information will be coming soon.
Last week Macon County had over 400 COVID cases with a very high positivity testing rate at around 20%. I urge everyone to get vaccinated.
The Highlands Cashiers Plateau Vaccination Initiative can provide assistance for vaccinations and for testing information by calling 828.526.1310.
- Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor