By David Rogers. May 27, 2015. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Another $1 million gift by the Foley family (Dennis and Diane Foley) –on top of an earlier $2.5 million contribution — earned the naming rights to the new post-acute care facility at Chestnut Ridge, currently under construction, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee was told on Wednesday.
COVER IMAGE: The new post-acute care facility will be named “The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.”
Footsloggers owner Mr. Jason Berry opened the meeting at the invitation of EDC chairman Don Hubble to talk about the Blowing Rock business environment and his Blowing Rock store. Mr. Berry observed that the clientele at the Blowing Rock store was like night and day different than the customers patronizing the Boone store, downtown at the intersection of Depot St. and Howard St. He admitted that even on days of special events like Art in the Park, Symphony and Wine Festival traffic in the store was largely influenced by weather.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System senior vice president for system advancement, Mr. Rob Hudspeth, made the announcement of the Foley gift at the EDC’s regular May meeting, where he provided committee members with an update on the project and said that going forward the facility would be known as “The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.”
Hudspeth reported that the construction of the facility is now 47% of the way finished, with a completion date of March 2016. Showing before and after images of the project and its construction progress, Hudspeth noted that despite the adverse weather conditions the crews had made great strides. He stated that a lot of the current focus is on connecting the entry road and its intersection with U.S. 321, including a new bridge joining with a new, 4-way intersections at what is currently known as the Edmisten Road intersection with U.S. 321.
News from other parts of the committee discussions:
- Mountainleaf: Blowing Rock Town Manager Scott Fogleman reported that the Concerned Citizens group has decided not to appeal last month’s Superior Court decision that the organization had no legal standing to oppose the 112-room hotel development on North Main Street, so now the project is eligible to go forward. Mr. Fogleman noted that the Town was in the process of contacting the proposed project’s developer, The Catellus Group of Charlotte.
- American Legion Building: What was referred to as a “groundbreaking ceremony” is scheduled for June 8th, 3:30 pm.
App Ski Mountain Welcome Center: Mr. Fogleman indicated that App Ski Mountain would likely be coming back to the Town Commissioners for approval to expand the size of the planned building because it appeared that High Country Host, which is being displaced from their current location at the front of the former K-Mart building in Boone. Another developer has other plans for the Boone property. Blowing Rock News confirmed from another informed source on Wednesday evening that High Country Host would become a tenant sharing the App Ski Mountain welcome center facility.
- Rotary Gazebo: Fogleman acknowledged that the Gazebo was finished and applauded the work of the Rotary club and its collaborators in getting the project completed before Memorial Day. “It seems to be greatly enjoyed by a number of people,” he said.
- Gateway Project: The Town Manager reported that the project first suggested by the Appalachian State graduate student team is gaining momentum, with the Valley Blvd. intersection at Sunset to become the primary “gateway” to downtown. Another designer has also contributed to the project, which was the subject of a lot of discussion during last week’s budget worksessions of the Board of Commissioners. The Commissioners, he said, had a lot of good ideas and input during those deliberations.
- Former Blowing Rock Market building — The highest profile of the vacant commercial buildings in town, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Charles Hardin and Blowing Rock Market owner David Barker, both present at the meeting, confirmed that a Superior Court judge had ruled to enforce a two-year non-compete agreement that had been part of the Market’s lease agreement with the property owners. The property cannot be used as a convenience store, restaurant, gas station or to sell alcohol during the two-year period. It may be used for other purposes, it was noted, such as an office building or flower shop.
- Moody’s Furniture building — Mr. Barker reported to those assembled that he hoped work could begin on the building, that it would be more of an eatery than a convenience store, similar to what Dean & Deluca’s is in Charlotte with extensive indoor seating, a deck for outdoor seating, and he estimated about 20 parking spaces to serve the business. He did not give a target date for opening, explaining that things were being held up by the availability of an engineer.
- Former Blowing Rock Realty building — continues to be on the market for sale
- Hanna’s building on Sunset, east of New Public House — for sale
- Former Life Is Good building on Sunset — for sale, currently empty
- Southmarke — the former Gregory Alan’s space is currently empty after the business moved to Main Street. Mr. Hardin reported that all of the kiosks and other spaces had tenants
- Former Thomas Kincaid Gallery space — on Main Street, the roughly 1,000 square foot building it is currently empty
- Wild Birds Galore is a new retail shop in Southmarke center, on Main Street
- Belle’s is a new retail shop in the building where Christopher’s Wine & Cheese is located, on Sunset Drive
- There is a new “Blowing Rock Cafe” on Sunset, replacing a former restaurant, Dino’s Dogs and Dash
- TOWN BUDGET: In closing the meeting, EDC chairman Don Hubble commended the Town staff for its preparation of the new recommended budget documents, which he noted were more comprehensive than in the past. He urged anyone with an interest to attend the June 9th meeting where a public hearing would be held before a decision on whether or not to pass the budget. In response to a question from Blowing Rock News, Mr. Fogleman reported that documents pointing out the changes in the recommended budget after the Commissioners recent budget worksessions would be available online when the June 9th meeting agenda was posted (about a week in advance).