$40,000 in WNC Community Enhancement Grants Awarded

(January 2024) CFWNC awarded four WNC Community Enhancement grants totaling $40,000 to support charitable organizations and eligible public agencies engaged in projects in downtowns or commercial corridors that enhance appearance, infrastructure, or the pedestrian experience.

The grants are:

$10,000 to Main Street Sylva Association (Jackson County) for its Mill Street Rear Façade Improvement Program. Mill Street’s buildings are located on the back side of Main Street’s. The façade grant program will help preserve and improve historic buildings in downtown Sylva. The façade work includes pressure washing, paint, awnings and the restoration of original architectural features.

$10,000 to Smoky Mountain Community Theatre (Swain County) to enhance the historic 1950s theatre located on Main Street in Bryson City. The funds will cover costs for new lighting, awnings and pressure washing that will improve two storefronts and add character to the building. The Theatre will showcase local music, dance, drama and storytelling and serve as a venue for movies, educational lectures, and community meetings.

$10,000 to Town of Clyde (Haywood County) to purchase benches, two stream recycling containers and flower planters to be placed in the Town Square. The improvements will highlight Clyde's business area and enhance and beautify the Town Square with the goal of attracting additional foot traffic to nearby businesses.

$10,000 to Town of Waynesville (Haywood County) to support Downtown Waynesville Commission’s installation of a hand-painted mural along a pedestrian alleyway that connects Main Street to parallel Wall Street, where additional shopping and parking are available. The mural design, depicting a broad landscape scene of rolling Appalachian Mountains, will feature the area’s history and natural beauty and draw visitors and residents to the downtown Main Street district.

“The Smoky Mountain Community Theatre membership and the local community are thankful for the WNC Community Enhancement Grant,” said Chris Roth, Grants Chair. “The Theatre is located on Main Street in Bryson City at the center of our town. This grant will provide funding for a much-needed facelift as well as awnings over both storefronts and updated outdoor lighting. These improvements will help restore this vital building for use as a community center for young and old, visitors and residents in Bryson City and surrounding areas.”

CFWNC and Dogwood Health Trust have partnered to make WNC Community Enhancement grants available. CFWNC is administering the program; Dogwood Health Trust provided the funding for the one-year pilot. The grants are another way to support rural economic development and can help build, rebuild or refresh community spaces that foster connections and economic development. Grants are reviewed and announced quarterly.

To apply, organizations must be tax-exempt and located in the Qualla Boundary or one of the following counties in Western North Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania or Yancey. Priority will be given to projects located in rural or other under-resourced areas.