Arts + Entertainment

Officials in the town of Canton have been throwing around the term “Canton Comeback” for a few years now, noting the very visible progress made in economic development and administration.

One of Zeb Smathers’ earliest memories is sitting in the cereal aisle of his grandfather’s downtown Canton grocery store, which wasn’t open on Sundays and didn’t sell booze.

“When the movie Ghostbusters came out there was a Ghostbusters cereal and I remember pleading with granddad,” Smathers said. “Mom would never allow us sugary cereal.”

Three complementary actions taken by the Haywood County Board of County Commissioners Nov. 20 show that despite changing conditions in the economic development landscape, Haywood County is serious about moving forward with business attraction, expansion and retention.

After a career spanning more than 14 years as the executive director of Haywood County’s Economic Development Council, Mark Clasby told EDC board members Nov. 2 that this year would be his last.

The economies of Haywood and Buncombe counties are and have been intricately linked for some time now, but a forthcoming agreement between them will soon formalize an economic development partnership designed to move both counties forward in a more efficient, more effective manner.

Earlier this year, a series of stories in The Smoky Mountain News focusing on Haywood County’s economy explored its various economic sectors, the businesses that comprise them, the organizations that aid them and the ultimate financial impact of them.

After realizing small but consistent gains in local business development over the past few years, the town of Waynesville has recently undertaken several initiatives designed to strengthen the economic vitality of the town while also guiding that development in a direction acceptable to the community as a whole.

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority is considering a number of major changes to increase its efficiency in collecting and allocating tourism revenue dollars.

Long before the Oct. 3, 1880, arrival of the first scheduled train in Asheville, the American railroad has been romanticized in both story and song, on stage and on screen.

Trains took us to our baby, or away from our baby. Trains took us off to war, or home to peace. Trains opened vast swaths of the American West to settlement, bringing with them jobs, growth, trade and prosperity while quietly gliding over miles upon miles of cold steel rail.

One needn’t look further than industries like Sylva’s Jackson Paper, Canton’s Evergreen Packaging and Waynesville’s Giles Chemical for evidence of how rail access benefits the economy in small Western North Carolina towns.

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