Although the indirect benefits of the unprecedented tourism boom that’s enveloped Haywood County over the past few years are readily apparent in the form of increased sales taxes and steady work for hospitality industry professionals, locals are finally about to get something out of it besides soaring housing costs and crowded attractions.
A much-needed, much-lamented bridge replacement project planned for U.S. 74 in Haywood County will be postponed, per a June 10 statement from North Carolina Department of Transportation Division 14 engineer Garrett Higdon.
The biggest knock against North Carolina’s city- and county-based Tourism Development Authority system is that while it does collect and spend room occupancy taxes to market specific cities and counties as travel destinations — driving Western North Carolina’s tourism-based economy — it does almost nothing for residents of those destinations who have to bear the brunt of soaring housing costs due to short-term rentals, overcrowded attractions and excess demand on infrastructure like roads and water systems.
In one of the most highly watched contests of the 2022 Primary Election season, voters gave their approval to six-term incumbent Sen. Ralph Hise , who will now serve his seventh term as senator of the newly-drawn 47th Senatorial District.
Haywood County residents are a step closer to learning who will replace a longtime lawman in December, after convincing Primary Election wins by private investigator Bill Wilke and retired Haywood County Sherriff’s Office Chief Deputy Larry Bryson.
George Vanderbilt first opened Biltmore, his magnificent private estate, to family and friends on Christmas Eve 1895. Today, his descendants continue welcoming guests with that same spirit of gracious hospitality.