LOCAL ISSUES LIKE CLOSING NINTH AVENUE AND ZONING CHANGES FOR THE NEW HHS CAMPUS COULD END UP IN THE HANDS OF THE NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY
As WHKP News predicted it would several months ago, the battle over a new Hendersonville High School campus has now shifted from the county courthouse to Hendersonville city hall. Commissioners are sticking to their Clark Nexsen-proposed $53 million dollar new high school at Five Points on the former Boyd property…and commissioners have issued an ultimatum to city council---either close Ninth Avenue between Oakland and Church Streets to make room for the new campus and approve the necessary zoning changes OR the whole HHS project will be shelved indefinitely.
The next step in the process would normally be for the county to formally request that the street be closed and the county or its architect and contractors would apply to the city planning board and then to city council for the necessary zoning changes.
But because three members of city council, Mayor Volk and council members Stevens and Smith, have already let their opposition to the Clark Nexsen proposal be known and are likely “no” votes, they could defeat the proposed closing of Ninth Avenue for the new campus and/or their participation in the quasi judicial hearing that would be required on the zoning changes could become an issue.
This leaves what’s appearing to be growing “gridlock” between the city and county on the new HHS issue. And this opens the door for the North Carolina General Assembly to possibly step in and force a solution. State Representative Chuck McGrady, a former county commissioner who served with some of the current "sitting" commissioners, has reportedly indicated to county commissioners that he’s willing to do so...and there is historical precedent for that.
The legislature settled a downtown building heights issue a decade ago by authorizing a “vote of the people” on the issue. More to the point, a quarter of a century ago, State Senator Bo Thomas wrote legislation forcing reluctant county commissioners to deal with the issue of a crumbling jail and old courthouse which led to the construction of the newer 1995 courthouse and detention facility.
McGrady tells WHKP he has not been asked yet for legislation on the issue---so a lot is obviously riding on what city council does in that February 9th meeting.
The need for a new Edneyville Elementary School was recently resolved when commissioners voted unanimously to build a new facility for about $25 million, and as Commission Chairman Michael Edney correctly pointed out the Edneyville school is a separate issue.. And County Commissioner Grady Hawkins re-affirmed the obvious…that the county CAN afford to build both the new Edneyville school and the new HHS campus. That SHOULD resolve both issues, but the city-county gridlock, at least for now. appears to be firmly in place.
The bottom line is…either a compromise is worked out between city and county to move the new campus and preservation of the historic Stillwell building forward…or the whole issue may be moved out of the hands of local elected city and county officials and placed squarely in the lap of a few hundred legislators in Raleigh who know diddly-squat about our situation and needs here in Henderson County---and that’s "Raleigh decision-making" and "legislative mandates" that are consistently decried by local elected officials.
This is not an editorial opinion...,what we’re offering is just an objective over-view from an historical perspective of where this contentious situation stands today and may be going in the very near future. So, like with other similar situations in our recent history, such as building heights and new courthouses, as we say in the radio business, “please stand by and stay tuned”…depending on what city council does on February 9th, it is looking more and more likely that this issue is about 210 miles down I-40 (the distance from here to Raleigh) from being resolved.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman Updated 01/30/17
A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
A WHKP Station Editorial
With issues like public schools…and in our case here, a new Hendersonville High School campus, the treasured Stillwell building, the auditorium, even the old rock gymnasium…and with a peripheral issue as pressing as the deteriorating condition at Edneyville Elementary School…emotions run high.
And when emotions run high, rhetoric and volumes tend to run even higher.
Thankfully, the holidays, and maybe even the softer, kinder “Christmas spirit”, toned all that down some. But the school issues are still here. And as commissioners, county and school staffs, school board members, alumni association members and other stakeholders begin to piece together some possibly workable solutions in this new year, we believe it’s time for the tone, the volume, the rhetoric, including the “name calling” and the harsh words…and we include our own in this…to be turned down or preferably shut off altogether.
We’re hearing that some “cooler heads” may be negotiating some possible compromise solutions, both for a new Hendersonville High School campus and for Edneyville Elementary School. If this is in the works, and it’s only rumored that it is, we’re optimistic…and we stand ready to encourage and support those cooler heads.
Whatever they come up with, and we don’t have a clue what that might be, will likely be a compromise. By definition and true to what it is, such a compromise won’t please everyone. We know our community well enough, and have enough faith in it, to believe that a common sense deal, or compromise, WILL move two badly needed projects forward…for the good of the whole community.
IF a solution is in the works, for both Hendersonville and Edneyville schools, and we are hopeful that one is, WHKP is resolved to do our part and keep the decibel level down to give those cooler heads the “quiet”, the space, and the chance they need to get the job done.
On critical issues like schools, we encourage public debate and we like to participate in it. But that’s over now, and it’s time for solutions to settle in. We hope the whole community will join us, and resolve to give these possible solutions that may be in the works a chance to succeed. That’s our “new year’s resolution”…we hope it will be the whole community’s resolution as well.
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman 01/08/17
A GOOD QUICK HISTORY OF THE NORTH CAROLINA APPLE FESTIVAL BY DAVE COOLEY AT THIS LINK:
HENDERSON COUNTY SCHOOLS - REVERSE THE ORDER
A WHKP STATION EDITORIAL
December 18, 2016
WE BELIEVE THE HENDERSON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND BOARD OF EDUCATION HAVE IT BACKWARDS.
IN THE FACE OF A LIKELY DEFEAT OF THEIR PROPOSED 53 MILLION DOLLAR HENDERSONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT (PHOTO ON THE HOME PAGE) IN A RE-ZONING REQUEST BEFORE HENDERSONVILLE’S CITY COUNCIL, THE HHS PROJECT NEEDS TO BE PUT “ON HOLD” WITH AN IMMEDIATE DECISION TO RETURN TO THE SCHOOL BOARD’S ORIGINAL TOP PRIORITY WHICH WAS AND IS TO BUILD A NEW EDNEYVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (CURRENT SCHOOL PHOTO ON THIS PAGE) FIRST. THE PLANNING AND FUNDING COMMITMENT FOR THE NEW EDNEYVILLE SCHOOL , WE BELIEVE, SHOULD START EARLY IN THE NEW YEAR 2017.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION SHOULD THEN GO BACK TO THE “DRAWING BOARD”…TOGETHER…WITH THEIR ARCHITECTS AND COME TO A MEETING OF THE MINDS WITH OTHER COMMUNITY GROUPS WITH IDEAS ALREADY PRESENTED THAT WILL SURELY REDUCE THE OVERALL PROJECTED $53 MILLION DOLLAR COST FOR HENDERSONVILLE HIGH BY SOME $20 MILLION DOLLARS, WITH MONEY LEFT OVER TO SAVE AND RESTORE THE HISTORIC STILLWELL BUILDING . THIS TIME, THE CITY OF HENDERSONVILLE SHOULD ALSO BE INVOLVED IN THE PLANNING PROCESS FOR A NEW HIGH SCHOOL. WHOLE CITY BLOCKS ARE INVOLVED, WITH MULTIPLE OWNERS AND INTERESTS, A MYRIAD OF ZONING CHANGES WILL BE REQUIRED, AND TODAY IS A FAR CRY FROM 1926 WHEN THAT HISTORIC STILLWELL BUILDING WAS PLACED ON WHAT WAS THEN THE EDGE OF TOWN AND MUCH OF HENDERSONVILLE WAS OPEN FIELDS AND DIRT STREETS.
THAT $20 MILLION DOLLAR SAVINGS, PLUS THE NEW MONEY THAT WENT INTO THE COUNTY’S FUND BALANCE THIS YEAR, WILL BE ALMOST ENOUGH TO BUILD A BRAND NEW EDNEYVILLE SCHOOL.
CURRENT REPORTS TELL US THAT EDNEYVILLE IS, IN FACT, A SCHOOL WITH MANY DEFICIENCIES…..NO RELIABLE HEAT IN WINTER AND NO RELIABLE AIR CONDITIONINGNG, RATS EATING FOOD, ALONG WITH A VARIETY OF ELECTRICAL BREAKER PROBLEMS, SEWAGE ISSUES….AND MUCH MORE.
IF THE SCHOOL BOARD AND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE GOING TO KEEP EDNEYVILLE SCHOOL OPEN AND NOT RE-DRAW SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND BUS EDNEYVILLE STUDENTS TO OTHER SCHOOLS, AS HAS BEEN RUMORED, A DECISION TO BUILD A NEW EDNEYVILLE SCHOOL SHOULD BE MADE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
THIS COMMON-SENSE, NO NON-SENSE APPROACH…TO START AN ALL NEW YEAR… CAN BRING ALL GROUPS COMMITTED TO DOING THE RIGHT THING TOGETHER, CAN KEEP THE AUTHORITY AND RESPOSIBILITY FOR DOING SO WHERE IT BELONGS, CAN COOL DOWN HEATED EMOTIONS AND SOFTEN THE DIALOGUE, AND CAN PUT ALL THOSE INTERESTED IN THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND THE BETTERMENT OF OUR CITY AND COUNTY ON THE “SAME PAGE”. AND CAN DO IT QUICKLY.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT WHKP, WHERE AS ALWAYS, WE INVITE YOUR COMMENTS ON OUR COMMENTS.
(The editorial can be heard Sunday at 6:05, 9:05, and 10:05am; Monday at 6:05, 7:05, 7:55, and 9:05am and at 3:05, 4:05, and 5:05pm on WHKP AM 1450, WHKP FM 107.7, and whkp.com (Listen Live)
A brief pictorial history of the Flat Rock Playhouse....by Dave Cooley.
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Hi - I'm Art Cooley, President and General Manager of WHKP RADIO.
Welcome to FACT OR FICTION, a name, borrowed from a long time ago when community leaders sat around a table for a MERCHANTS MEETING....and after all official business had been conducted, those in attendance each contributed to the meeting what they were HEARING ON THE STREET about rumors from various contacts. I sat in these various groups for many years.
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Check out the APPLE FESTIVAL STORY in Dave Cooley's BLOG article.... go to www.thenandnowinhendersonville.blogspot.com
CHECK OUT THE LATEST POSTING .....FRIDAY .....MAY 2nd - 2014....by CLICKING ON THE LINK. http://thenandnowinhendersonville.blogspot.com/
PICTURES AND STORY ABOUT OLD TIMEY DAY AT HENDERSON COUNTY CURB MARKET.
WHKP is pleased and proud to present outstanding photographs as submitted for the Camera Club of Hendersonville's Quarterly Forum. They are being provided through a partnership between the two organizations. From time to time, we will present members photographs in addition to those appearing in the forum.
Linking you to the Camera Club website directly: http://www.cameraclubofhendersonville.com/
Here is a quick link to the Club's 2014 picture forum: Enjoy!!
Slideshow Night Photography: