Ideas surrounding the fate of a vacant factory building in Whittier have been swirling since Jackson County commissioners started taking a serious look at its future earlier this year. Turn it into an agriculture center? Make it a recreation park? Deed it to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians? Demolish it?
A bid to make the Cherokee police chief’s position an elected one isn’t dead, but Tribal Council has voted to complete a study examining the pros and cons of such a move before making a choice. Following a lengthy discussion at their July meeting and a two-and-a-half-hour work session later that month, the council voted to embark on a feasibility study examining the possible effects of the idea and needs in the police department.
One day they were operating out of the community center building in Sylva and the next they were moving into a singlewide trailer in Bryson City. Some years federal grant money rolled in hand over fist, and other years they fought tooth and nail for highly competitive grants for their communities. They’ve seen years of unchecked growth and years of economic stagnation.