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News Commissioners taking bids for pool renovations

Plans are in the works to create a brand new kids’ area at the Macon County recreation park pool with water features such as fountains and dump buckets.Macon County Commissioners heard from architect Tom Ritter last week regarding plans to make over the county pool, which hasn’t seen any improvements since it was constructed in the 1970s.

Commissioners approved plans on Tuesday for a new pool house and pool at the Veterans Memorial Park, which will now be sent out for bids.

Seth Adams, director of Macon County Recreation Department informed commissioners that because of the change in laws and regulations, if an upgrade is done to the pool or the adjoining facility housing the showers, the entire facility must be renovated to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. The project is being separated into two renovation projects. The pool house will receive an overhaul and will be brought up to date for the showers and concession areas. The pool, which will be a completely separate project, will feature a brand new kids’ area fully stocked with a beach access and multiple structures like a mushroom and dump buckets.

According to Adams, although an initial estimate on the cost to upgrade the pool and shower facility would be between $300,000 to $400,000, he anticipates it will be less than that. The current pool is one body of water, which can provide problems if a younger child has an accident in the pool. By constructing a separate area for the kids, the pool staff would be able to avoid having to shut down the entire facility if an accident was to occur.

Bids for both projects combined are expected to be at least half a million dollars. Included in those plans will be some renovations to the Highlands Pool as well. Commissioner

Chair Kevin Corbin noted that the pool upgrades will be funded through the county’s fund balance and will not require a tax increase or a loan for the financing of the pool.

Harmony House Foods to locate in Franklin

After a closed session with Macon County’s Economic Director Tommy Jenkins, commissioners announced that Harmony House Foods Inc, a leading outfitter of dehydrated foods to backpackers, restaurants, schools and families, will locate operations in the Macon County Business Development Center.

Commissioners approved the lease agreement Tuesday evening. “We welcome Harmony House to Macon County and are excited about their growth potential,” said commission chairman Kevin Corbin. “With their ties to the outdoor recreation industry, we think they are perfect fit for our area.”

Founded in 2005, the family-owned business maintains a strong on-line sales presence and is a supplier to outdoor related companies such as REI. In 2007, Backpacker Magazine awarded Harmony House with its “Editors’ Choice” award, gaining the company national recognition. In addition, the company was a SBA “Business People of the Year” nominee in 2008.

“We are privileged to be relocating to an area of North Carolina that is not only stunningly beautiful, but is open and accommodating to the business community,” said John Seaman, President of Harmony House Foods. “We are looking forward to a long-lasting, positive relationship with the good people of Macon County.”

Harmony House will occupy approximately 7,500 square feet of the county’s Business Development Center and is expected to initially employ 5 to 7 employees. Operations are scheduled to begin in September.

“This is another step forward as we strive to diversify our local economy,” said Jenkins. “We look forward to Harmony House’s continued success in Macon County.”


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