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GOOD JOB!/NEEDS WORK ... Christmas lights, restrooms, roundabout

Good job! If you haven’t seen the downtown Christmas lights this season make sure you check them out.

The addition of the 30-foot tree in the Historic Courthouse plaza is the centerpiece of the new look. Not only does it look like a Christmas tree but it saves the twin spruce trees that flank the courthouse from harm. The lights twirling around the evergreens always looked like big bubba trees, and they were damaging the old trees. Credit the city of Hendersonville, the downtown development office headed by Lew Holloway and particularly downtown promotions coordinator Dalleen Jackson for the fabulous lights, which are installed by a contractor from Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson is leaving her city job at the end of this year. That will be a loss to the city. Holloway told the City Council he’s interviewing candidates now for her replacement. Thanks, Dalleen.

Needs work … This one starts as a Good job! for sure, and that’s the new downtown bathroom on Fifth Avenue West. They’re modern, clean and convenient. Only trouble is they need better signage on Main Street and a perpendicular sign at the site itself that pedestrians can see from Main Street.

Good job! The idea of honoring Honor Air and founder Jeff Miller by naming the south gateway park for the Honor Flight Network seemed obvious as soon as we heard it. Originators and current Honor Flight leaders made the proposal last week before the Hendersonville City Council. The council, which includes Miller, immediately endorsed it. The gateway park where King, Church and Main streets meet will be named for the veteran-supporting effort and a historic marker in the 300 block of Main Street will commemorate it. “Honor Flight Park is named in honor of all veterans of Western North Carolina and to recognize the founder of Blue Ridge Honor Flight, Jeff Miller, local businessman and community servant,” the plaque will read. Founded with the goal of flying WWII veterans to Washington, Blue Ridge Honor Flight continues today with trips for veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Shout out, too, to City Manager John Connet, who plunged in to help as soon as the Honor Flight folks brought the idea to him.

Needs work … The Greenville Highway roundabout — and fast. The contractor for the $3.5 million project, the Graham County Land Co., has shown precious little hustle in meeting deadlines for the job. GCLC missed two deadlines in October and another at the end of November. The latest projected date to reopen the main link between Flat Rock and Hendersonville is the end of this week. Which just happens to be Friday the 13th. Go figure.
Good job! Speaking of traffic headaches and NCDOT projects, the Henderson County emergency management office and state transportation engineers aren’t waiting for a crisis to come up before acting. They’ve been planning for a year for how first responders will reach crash scenes on I-26 during the three- to five-year widening project from I-40 to Four Seasons Boulevard. Emergency management director Jimmy Brissie described the effort to the Board of Commissioners last week. This and many other reasons is why we have one of the best emergency management agencies in the state. County Manager Steve Wyatt has always been a strong supporter of high-quality and quick emergency response and the Board of Commissioners have spared no expense in backing that up. We’re all safer as a result.