You'll see U.S. Stimulus Funds at work as you travel around western North Carolina near Asheville. Here are some of the major recipients of funds for improvements that will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come:
More than $15 million in economic recovery funds will pay private contractors and partners to complete a varietyof projects in North Carolina’s four national forests (including Pisgah Forest and Nantahala Forest), which spread from the mountains to the sea. Most jobs will be finished by spring 2011. Contract crews will repair more than 200 miles of trail, restore historic fire towers and shelters, and replace worn-out restrooms at campgrounds. Every year 8.6 million people visit these national forests to camp, hike, ride whitewater rapids, mountain bike, fish or take scenic drives in these havens of rest.
Roan Mountain Recreation Area is getting a $700,000 overhaul. It will be open only June 6th thru July 7th in 2010 due to construction (but you can access the Applachian Trail). The funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will pay for renovations to the facilities and roads at the site. The dilapidated 1960s restroom facility near the Cloudland parking lot will be replaced with a new 8-unit accessible restroom facility in the same location. The existing trail system servicing the observation deck in the Rhododendron Garden will be rehabilitated and resurfaced, increasing the trail’s safety. The observation deck itself is unsafe and will be replaced. Additionally, the main paved road leading to the Cloudland parking lot will be resurfaced. Read more.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was awarded $13.3 million in federal stimulus money. The Blue Ridge Parkway, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, will use the funds for repairs including reconstructing historic stone guard walls, removing vegetation and hazardous trees and repairing trails. Much needed repaving continues from 2009 in the Craggy Gardens area. See traffic updates for the Parkway.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was awarded $64 million in federal stimulus money of the roughly $900 million awarded by Congress to the whole of National Parks across the country through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The GSMNP will use the funds to improve facilities, trails and roads. Most of the work will be contracted out.
The Asheville Regional Airport's current $10.5 million renovation of the terminal is funded largely by stimulus money.