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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.

Like bubbles bobbing atop bathwater, the sectors of Haywood County’s economy are separate but often attached to each other in ways not always readily seen. Although all the bubbles ebb and swell independently of each other, they also rise and fall with the level of bathwater in the tub.

Since late April, The Smoky Mountain News series on economic development has focused on the financial health of Haywood County, the mechanisms by which state, local and national governments encourage economic development and the various sectors that make up the county’s economy.

A robust and vigorous health care sector is the cornerstone of any community; convenient access to health care facilities is a make-or-break issue for many, including the elderly, the disabled or even young families expecting children.

The climate and topography of Haywood County make it a place that people want to live.

It was weird.

Driving around downtown Canton this past weekend, it was weird to have a hard time finding a parking space. In most Western North Carolina communities during the busy summer tourist season, this is the norm. But, for the blue-collar paper mill town of Canton, finding a parking spot has never been an issue. 

After two years of meetings, research and public input, the Jackson County Comprehensive Land Use Plan must go through one more round of public comment before commissioners can give it final approval. A public hearing is scheduled for 5:50 p.m. Monday, June 19, at the Jackson County Justice Center.

On a rainy June Monday in Maggie Valley, wispy mists lick lush mountaintops that tower behind nearly every business in town, including the Cabbage Rose gift shop on Soco Road. 

A lagging recovery from the Great Recession and the continuing loss of a major tourist attraction in Maggie Valley haven’t slowed growth of the tourism industry in Haywood County. 

There’s an old adage in business that says, simply, “If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed.”

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This Must Be the Place

Reading Room

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    Books that help bridge the political divide Time for spring-cleaning.  The basement apartment in which I live could use a deep cleaning: dusting, washing, vacuuming. It’s tidy enough — chaos and I were never friends — but stacks of papers need sorting, bookcases beg to see their occupants removed and the shelves…
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