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Jackson considers municipal grant applications

The Town of Sylva aims to enhance public art through the Municipal Grant Program. Hannah McLeod photo The Town of Sylva aims to enhance public art through the Municipal Grant Program. Hannah McLeod photo

Jackson County is considering the latest round of municipal grant applications that arrived on commissioners desks this week. Among applications from Sylva, Webster, Dillsboro and Village of Forest Hills, municipalities are looking to improve residents’ experience through art, aesthetics and greater accessibility.

The municipal grant program is intended to assist Jackson municipalities with the implementation of projects that will benefit all citizens of the county. This year, there is $20,000 earmarked for the program with individual applicants receiving up to $5,000. 

The town of Sylva has applied for a $5,000 grant to start a Sylva Art Walk that includes murals, marketing rack cards for the walk and kiosks to hold brochures and other promotional materials. 

The Murals on Mill project will bring new murals to Mill Street giving several local and regional artists the chance to showcase their work. This portion of the project will entail three rotating murals on Mill Street over the course of the year. Art walk rack cards will include a map and QR code to the Sylva Art Walk web page. This site will include photos of all public art, galleries in downtown Sylva and maps and addresses for each. This approach allows for the flexibility to incorporate new projects as they come up. 

“Downtown Sylva is becoming quite the art-centered hub of Jackson County,” the application reads. “Many of the public art murals, miniature art, private galleries and collaborative centers have popped up over the past few years, while some have been intentional. Our goal is to tie them all together to one unified economic driver for downtown.”

The project has a total estimated cost of $5,824.59, with the Town of Sylva funding the additional portion. 

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The town of Dillsboro has applied for grant funding to refurbish the public restroom facility in the downtown area. The scope of the project involves repairing and resurfacing of ceilings and sheetrock; repairing and painting stall doors, dividers and install grab bars; replacing sinks, lighting, hand dryers and toilet seats; installing baby changing station; painting interior and exterior of buildings and handrails; and acid washing and pressure washing floors and drains. The building is open year-round and is the only public restroom facility in Dillsboro. 

“Many county residents utilize Dillsboro as a recreational area for walking and outdoor exercising, as well as regional visitors and tourists,” the Dillsboro grant application reads. “Providing a clean, sanitary restroom building will enhance the visitor experience to the town.”

The Town of Webster has applied for a grant to purchase park equipment to be placed on property leased by the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department located behind the ballfield on Webster Road. The plan is to purchase four garbage receptacles, one recycling receptacle, installation hardware and a bench. The bench is intended for public use outside Town Hall. 

The Village of Forest Hills has applied for a grant for the enhancement of the village entrance. Because the entrance to the village is directly across the highway from the WCU Ramsey Center, administration sees its enhancement as a benefit to all of Jackson County. 

“This is an area that brings thousands of visitors every year for WCU cultural and athletic functions; it is currently a big woody weed patch,” the application reads. 

The project would involve replacing the brushy weed patch with grass turf. Then, the village plans to add shrubbery and contract for continuous care. 

Commissioners will vote on approval of these grants at the Jan. 17 regular board meeting. 

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