Here's what will likely be in the news for Haywood in 2017

Jan 04, 2017

As Haywood County enters 2017, there are already hints about what local news stories will be coming our way for the coming year.

Haywood County has two projects in progress — an emergency services facility that is nearly complete and an animal services facility that has barely started. Look for both to be wrapped up this year.

With the November election outcome where voters approved the sale of beer and wine in all areas of the county, look for retailers or restaurants outside town limits — and in Clyde — to expand offerings when it comes to making it more convenient for individuals to purchase beer and wine.

The county sees economic development opportunities in a sewer line being installed by the Junaluska Sanitary District to serve the businesses along N.C. 209. Both county and grant funds are helping make this project possible.

Hopes are high for a resolution to the nagging issue of both affordable housing and the drain on county funds to maintain the long abandoned office space formerly used by the social services department. Several projects to turn the space into affordable housing units have not panned out, but a private development group is now giving it a whirl.

While the proposal won’t provide a lot of revenue from the building sale, it will address a pressing need in the county.

Updating the Waynesville branch of the Haywood County library is another issue that has been studied for several years and will likely be up for discussion again in 2017.

In Canton, watch for updates on the outdoor swimming pool project. While the project hit a few unforeseen snags — most notably the last-minute falling through of a crucial USDA loan, the project is back on track, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be completed before the summer of 2017 winds down. If the town can pull it off, it’ll be a major victory.

In 2016, Canton worked with students from Clemson University’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture programs to come up with two master plan proposals for Camp Hope. As the year neared its end, the students presented their ideas to the town at a public hearing, garnering much praise from residents. Clemson professor Paul Russell told The Mountaineer that around April or May, the students will have combined the two plans, along with feedback from local residents, to present one master plan to town officials. From there, it’ll be up to those officials to decide how to move forward. Although it can’t be said which improvements they will move forward with, residents can be certain good things are in store for Camp Hope.

Now that Haywood County Schools have made it to the top 10 percent list in the state barrier, look for school leaders to continue striving to get even better, or at the very least, maintain their position as one of the best school districts in the state.

Watch many of the nonprofit organizations in the county as they mobilize their passionate volunteers to build affordable houses, grow cultural diversity, reach out to those in need and  follow their mission to make Haywood County a better place to live.