Friends of the Lake launched to support walking path

fr lakej pathEd Green has plenty of time for contemplation during his 15 mile runs on the paths circling Lake Junaluska. One of his recurring thoughts turns to what’s underfoot: how lucky he is to run in such a beautiful place.

Service with a smile

fr clydesIf you want a seat at one of Bobby Harracks’ tables, you better get to Clyde’s Restaurant early.

A steady crowd of customers makes a beeline for Harracks’ section of the mainstay hometown diner in Waynesville, filling in the booths and counter space for a chance to be entertained by the beloved server.

Tide of support carries Lake Junaluska, Waynesville toward merger

news lakejLake Junaluska homeowners and community leaders spoke out strongly last week in favor of merging with Waynesville, setting the stage for a bill to work its way through the N.C. General Assembly this summer declaring Lake Junaluska part of the town of Waynesville.

Emotions run high as Lake Junaluska task force votes for merger

fr lakejmoreA Lake Junaluska task force voiced overwhelming support last week for merging the 765-home community with the town of Waynesville before a packed audience of homeowners.

SEE ALSO: Ongoing coverage

The 14-member task force has spent 10 months weighing the future course of the community with century-old roots as a summer Methodist retreat. Financial solvency was the deciding factor for those in favor of being absorbed into Waynesville’s town limits. The community does not have the critical mass nor economies of scale to go it alone, especially given the costly repairs it would face during the next decade to fix its crumbling infrastructure, task force members said.

Main Street Champions recall changing face of downtown Waynesville

fr mainst champsWhen LeRoy Roberson and his wife, Gale, opened an optometric business on Waynesville’s Main Street 35-years-ago, about a quarter of the storefronts sat empty.

Lake Junaluska a good catch for Waynesville, but light on the dowry

fr lakeJAdding Lake Junaluska to its town limits won’t be a windfall for Waynesville despite $775,000 in property taxes it stands to gain each year. Likewise, Junaluska wouldn’t be a financial drain on the town, according to the results of a highly anticipated engineering and feasibility study outlining the pros and cons of a merger.

A match made in heaven?

Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown has honed his dating and engagement analogies as town leaders weigh whether to tie the knot with Lake Junaluska.

They started innocently enough 10 months ago.

Haywood flips for pancake day

fr pancakedayIt’s 6:15 a.m., and Woody Griffin is ready.

“It’s the calm before the storm,” he chuckled.

Countdown to decision time

Several boards and bodies will formally vote in coming weeks on whether Lake Junaluska should become part of Waynesville, form its own town or continue as a sophisticated homeowner’s association. Here’s a look at who will be weighing in and when.

SEE ALSO: Ongoing coverage

February 22: Public hearing by Waynesville leaders. 11 a.m. at new town hall.

February 26: Waynesville Board of Alderman votes. 7 p.m. at town hall. Alternate date first week of each month.

February 28: Property owner survey results announced. 7 p.m. at Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska.

February 28: Lake Junaluska task force votes. 7 p.m. at the Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska.

March 5: Lake Junaluska Community Council votes. 4 p.m. at Junaluska Welcome Center

March 8: Lake Junaluska Board of Directors votes. No time specified.

March 13: General Assembly deadline for bill to be introduced. Vote by state lawmakers by late summer.

The players

Property owners: A survey was mailed to all 811 Lake Junaluska property owners last week, with a robust response rate so far. There are 765 homes at Lake Junaluska. About half are lived in year-round by their owners. Surveys also went to owners of lots and a handful of commercial entities on the grounds.

SEE ALSO: Ongoing coverage

Lake Junaluska Future Task Force: A 13-member, appointed task force that has studied the ins and outs of the options with the intensity and thoroughness of NASA space shuttle inspectors. Consists primarily of Lake Junaluska residents, with two Lake Junaluska officials and one Waynesville official.

Lake Junaluska Community Council: A seven-person body elected by Lake Junaluska homeowners to address neighborhood issues and represent residential interests. The council parleys with the Conference and Retreat Center, which manages public works and carries out residential services paid for through homeowners fees.

Lake Junaluska Assembly Board of Directors: A 32-member body that oversees big picture operations for the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Its members consist mostly of Methodist Church leaders and appointments, with just a handful of local residents or community leaders. It is considered the “official” decision-making body for the Lake Junaluska community and holds the definitive “vote.”

Waynesville Board of Aldermen: The five-member elected town board must decide if it wants Lake Junaluska. One public hearing was held already to gauge the views of the town’s current populace, but town residents did not show up.

N.C. General Assembly: If Lake Junaluska leaders decide to become part of Waynesville, and if Waynesville agrees, state lawmakers would have to consecrate the deal. Language for a bill is already in the drafting stages, so it would be ready to roll if it’s ultimately needed. A bill’s chances of passing in Raleigh hinge on how strong and loud the call is from all the other players here.

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