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TDA support boosts trail momentum

Friends of Ecusta Trail board member Chris Burns thanked the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority last week for its decision to allocate a half-cent of the county’s 5-cent occupancy tax, which will total roughly $70,000, to support the proposed Ecusta Trail.

“It has not gone unnoticed,” he said. “There have been a couple of things, actually a handful of things, that have happened as a result of that.”
The Friends of Ecusta Trail made sure that Transylvania County’s TDA knew of its peer’s support 20 miles east.
“They did not go as far as you guys did to set aside any percentage of their occupancy tax, and to my knowledge nobody asked them to do that,” but he got the sense that they were moving in that direction.
ChrisBurnsChris Burns“Also, as a result of that, we’ve been getting a lot of activity — calls, emails and that sort of thing since your endorsement,” he said.
YAM, the Yoga and Massage wellness studio, partnered with the trail organization to host on event on Sunday to educate the public on the proposed Hendersonville-to-Brevard greenway.
“We had a meeting with DOT in Raleigh a couple weeks ago, and specifically the Trails and Greenways Division, and they told us that the governor has a very high priority,” he said. “They would like to see a railway trail developed in Western North Carolina, and they’re looking at this as one that they would like to see developed.
“They have given us indication of some things that they would like for us to do to try to move forward so that when the time comes we are eligible and able to apply for some federal grant funds and some state grant funds that could fund up to 80 percent of the construction of the trail.”
“A lot of good things are happening, both behind the scenes and in front of the scenes,” he added.
The Ecusta Trail would stretch 19 miles from Hendersonville to Brevard, following the path of the old railway between the towns. Friends of the Ecusta Trail envision a multi-use greenway for hiking and biking. Although the rail line has been idle since 2002, rail owner Watco, a Kansas company, has not committed to railbanking the route to allow the development of a greenway.