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Top 10: 4, 3

No. 4 Downtown development


Discussed for many years as ideas and perceived needs downtown, a parking deck and new hotels edged toward reality in 2020. In its last meeting of the year, the City Council heard a final report on plans for a parking deck, a $10 million structure that would be financed by hourly parking in the garage and downtown and the lease of deck spaces. Under current plans, construction would start in the spring, kiosks would go up for downtown parking downtown in the fall and paid parking would start in January of 2022. Cost: $1.50 an hour. While a companion project to recruit a hotel developer for the Dogwood parking lot across Church Street from the parking deck has stalled, two other hotels have cleared zoning hurdles and could be under construction in 2021. The City Council rezoned a lot on Church Street behind the Historic Courthouse for the Court House Inn, a 58-room five-story hotel with a small restaurant, lobby bar and fifth floor terrace. And this week the city Planning Board endorsed development plans for the Cedars Lodge & Spa, a six-story hotel-condo development surrounding the historic Cedars inn on Seventh Avenue between North Church and Buncombe streets.

No. 3: ‘What a hero looks like’

The darkest day of the year came on Sept. 10 when Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Patrick Hendrix responded to a predawn 911 call about a car break-in and shots fired in Mountain Home. When the suspected burglar shot Hendrix, two other deputies opened fire, killing the shooter. Hendrix was transported to Mission Hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that day. Friends, family members and law officers packed Mud Creek Baptist Church for Hendrix’s funeral service. “He has left a huge hole in our agency and a gaping hole in our hearts,” Sheriff Lowell Griffin said. “If you’ve ever wondered what a hero looks like, wonder no more. … Your work here is done and with the help of everyone here today, we will hold the line until we meet again.” Later, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners voted to name the sheriff’s headquarters for Deputy Hendrix.

Coming next, the No. 2 and No. 1 stories of the year.