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Just shy of a decade after county offices moved into a brand-spankin’ new Haywood County Justice Center, Jackson County is considering its own courthouse overhaul — and it’s using the Haywood project as a model. Jackson pulled in Heery International, the same company that designed and built the Haywood courthouse, to do a preliminary needs assessment, and now commissioners are waiting on the results to come back before planning the next step. 

The last day of federal court in Bryson City will be Dec. 31. 

The Haywood County historic courthouse in Waynesville will be completely re-landscaped by the end of this week, just in time for the official launch of the summer tourist season marked by Memorial Day weekend.

The county cut down all the large sugar maple trees from the courthouse lawn over the winter, and it has been barren ever since. The new landscape design calls for smaller trees and fewer of them.

The new trees will be planted in the nick of time for the first downtown street festival of the year this Saturday, although the lawn itself will take longer to restore.

Last week, county maintenance employees planted six Kousa Dogwood trees along the Depot Street side of the courthouse and a sugar maple on the right side of the historic courthouse, between it and the new justice center. 

The remaining plantings — two Yoshino Cherries, a Serbian spruce and a few shrubs —should be delivered by Wednesday (May 22 and promptly put in the ground.

“We will be ready to go,” said Dale Burris, county facilities and maintenance director. “It’s a simple fact of digging a hole and putting it in correctly.”

— By Caitlin Bowling

fr courthousetreesA new landscape plan for the Haywood County historic courthouse is mostly devoid of large shade trees, in stark contrast to the many stately sugar maples that graced the lawn until recently. Instead, it opts for just a handful of midsized trees.

How the axe fell

fr courthousetreesTalk of cutting the historic courthouse maples in Waynesville has come and gone during the years.

Reasons varied. It was hard to get grass to grow underneath. The trees masked the grandness of the historic courthouse. Heavy equipment parked under the trees during courthouse renovations damaged the root systems.

Main Street merchants are used to answering tourists’ questions: how do you get to the parkway, what’s the best place for dinner, and where are the public restrooms? But lately, Waynesville’s downtown store keepers have also become purveyors of news.

The lone evergreen tree left standing on the lawn of the historic courthouse in downtown Waynesville will soon be coming down.

fr confederateflagThe ongoing Confederate flag tug-of-war in Haywood County took an unusual turn last week.

fr confedflagsThe Haywood County Board of Commissioners seem poised to adopt a policy that would severely limit the display of Confederate flags on county property.

fr metaldetectorSwain County may heighten security measures at the courthouse and administration building to stop guns and weapons from being carried into the lobby.

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