In support of its pedestrian mobility and safety strategic initiative, the Cashiers Area Chamber recently funded a topographical survey related to the installation of an “inner loop” sidewalk from the Crossroads south on NC 107 to Frank Allen Road, west to US 64 and east to NC 107. This financial underwriting further demonstrates the business league’s leadership and continuing commitment to improving pedestrian access in the Cashiers Village core. Chamber Director Ben Harris, of Harris Custom Builders, serves as the group’s champion on the issue and liaison to Jackson County and other community stakeholders.
The $4,325 survey paid for by the Chamber will be used to create a planning tool to execute engineering for future sidewalk construction. An inner-loop segment -- encircling the Village Green, public amenities and nearby retailers -- has been identified as the initial priority in a community-wide pedestrian network.
In October, the Chamber formally endorsed the County’s NC Department of Transportation grant application to develop a comprehensive pedestrian planning process. A county effort in the form of a long-term plan -- in partnership with the Chamber and other public and private interests -- will enhance the health and safety of residents and visitors and promote desirable walkability in the commercial center.
The Chamber sponsors an ongoing “We’re Walkin’ Here” safety campaign to raise awareness of crosswalk traffic near Crossroads shops, restaurants and other destinations and advise drivers that state law requires vehicles to stop in the presence of pedestrians.
In the past, the Chamber has provided funding to extend the Village Ramble, a permeable-surface trail system, by replacing a drainage ditch along US 64 West with a pathway.
The Chamber also has been involved in the development of a Cashiers Small Area Plan which documents the community’s infrastructure and lifestyle needs and preferences and identifies pedestrian mobility priorities and implementation recommendations. The draft plan currently is under review by the Cashiers Planning Council and will be considered by the Board of Commissioners in the near future. On adoption it will serve as the framework to ensure responsible growth maintains or improves village character and prosperity.
To further promote walkability, a recently-adopted Cashiers Planning Council commercial district ordinance requires businesses to install sidewalks whenever a property has a change of use. Randevu Restaurant, located on US 64 East, is a prominent example of new sidewalk construction in conjunction with property development.
Additional financial support for development and construction of a Cashiers sidewalk system is expected to be generated through community groups, in partnership with Jackson County (for ongoing maintenance), with federal and regional grants, and could include innovative support by the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund (a Chamber-developed non-profit) in the form of matching small business grants or similar incentives.
The Chamber represents nearly 450 members in Cashiers, Glenville, Lake Toxaway, Sapphire and Highlands in its mission to provide extraordinary Leadership as an Advocate for Business, Information Source for the Community and Conduit for building destination awareness and responsible growth.