How will the saga of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad end?
There have been many letters written about this grant comparing it to a loan. It is a grant with many terms attached to the grant.
What are the chances the grant will be successful for both parties? Several weeks ago, Western Carolina University made a presentation to Jackson County commissioners concerning the impact the railroad would have on north Jackson County and Dillsboro. It was astounding the number of direct and indirect jobs that would result from the return of the railroad. The benefit to Jackson County and Dillsboro would be significant if only one half of the jobs forecast in the report would occur. Currently our local unemployment rate is more than 10 percent.
Does anyone think it is likely our unemployment rate will decline if we don’t start attracting new businesses into Jackson County? The business owners in north Jackson County and Dillsboro are depending on the GSMR to bring them new customers into their area. Our unemployed people need jobs as well as some of our young people, who have not been able to find work. The GSMR can be the thing that helps our county make life better for many of our people.