Downtown Sylva needs some help

To the Editor:

Tourism, tourism and tourism are the three most important words to line the struggling businessmen’s pockets and the county tax collector coffers. One must ask, who were the folks in Dillsboro responsible for tar and feathering plus running the single most important revenue producing train out of the city in the first place?

Sure, there is the downturn in the economy a few years back that can be blamed for the lack of the all-illustrious tourist. However, after taking a leisurely stroll in downtown Sylva yesterday one word came to mind to describe the town: shabby. We are not talking shabby chic here, just plain and simply shabby. There was not a window that I looked in that did not need cleaning. Let’s put it plain and simple again: the windows in every shop were dirty.

So now we have shabby and dirty to describe our little town. We can now move on to the peeling paint on some very nice mill/woodwork on a few historic looking buildings, the peeling window film on a few windows, and the peeling plaster in one restaurant’s outside seating area. The window displays? What can one say other than cluttered, dusty, and lacking creativity. Nothing says I want to shop here like junky, cluttered, dusty and tacky window displays.

Once you make the mistake of entering a few shops and one restaurant, you walk out with another descriptive word: dingy. I understand times are hard; however, a few gallons of paint and creative lighting will make considerable improvements. I feel like some of these business owners have lost that pride of ownership that they surely had when they started their business.

I feel the town and the county are more interested lending money to start-up or once-failed businesses then lending money to improving the appearance of the downtown or for that matter making improvements to the downtown. They would rather spend money on a study to attract tourism than spend money on completing the paving of bricks on the sidewalks. They need a comprehensive color scheme for downtown; they need a volunteer day or two to sandblast, pressure wash, tear down (like worn out awnings and decayed wood), and paint and clean the downtown shops. This town needs a coming together, a happening, something like an old-fashioned barn rising, and leadership.

I won’t waste your time or mine in describing Mill Street. Anyone who has ever driven or had the unfortunate experience of walking down Mill Street knows exactly how to describe that place. We have the most beautiful library/courthouse in the state. Once a tourist takes a few pictures of the steps leading to the library, it is time to leave and head for the N.C. 107 fastfood alley. Harsh but true.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have time or the energy to start on the Jackson County Ghost Town of Dillsboro. Well, other than to say they got what they deserved from their greedy elected leadership. I’m all for the train returning to Dillsboro. However, I’m totally against using taxpayer dollars in bringing it back.

Frank Parrish


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