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Ask Matt ... about Main Street, shabby road, family trees

The Lightning's inquisitive researcher gets answers for readers.

Q. What's going into the building at 512 N. Main St.? That would be a perfect building for a high quality men's clothing store.

That space was once the sales office for Grand Highlands, the Bearwallow Mountain development. Sorry, 512 North Main will not be a haberdashery. Beverly-Hanks Realty will relocate its offices to the new downtown location. Neal Hanks, owner and president of the real estate firm, said the move will occur in late April. Hanks said that the decision to move was prompted by the added value of foot traffic on Main Street. Beverly-Hanks also has opened downtown offices in Waynesville and Asheville. The firm's existing offices in the eponymous Beverly-Hanks Center beside Patton Park will be leased to new tenants. This will be the fourth real estate firm with offices fronting Main Street.

Q. The stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Dana Road and North Grove Street is in need of some sprucing up. Are there any plans to make this area more presentable?

After speaking with officials from both the city of Hendersonville and NCDOT, I have learned that because MLK Jr. Boulevard (US 64) is a state-maintained road there are only certain things a municipality can do on it. The city can and has done roadside cleanup on a more frequent basis than DOT crews but any work done is always on the city's nickel. The term "state maintained" has to do with the safety and serviceability of the road and appearance is a low priority for DOT. For example, it matters not if guardrails along the entryway are rusting and unsightly but still meet safety standards. Similarly, tall grass along the shoulder does not trigger the safety requirement. I am told that Hendersonville will do some "sprucing up" in the spring that will include some work in the grassy medians. The subject of entryway appearance was brought up at the City Council's January workshop as reported in the Lightning.

Q. Does the Historical Society building on Main Street have available?
Our Genealogical and Historical Society has a wealth of information about Henderson County and its residents but no public computer. Yet a valid library card will get you free access to and other research sites. All can be accessed at the main library or any branch. There may be a one-hour time limit if others are waiting.

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