COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: Projects focus of public hearing

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BAKERSVILLE – The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners at a special meeting Tuesday, Jan. 28, had a public hearing to allow the Mitchell County Economic Development Commission’s “Project Topaz” to move forward. 

EDC Director Mickey Duvall briefed the commissioners on the project before the hearing began. 

“Project Topaz” is a building reuse grant project that will support the reuse of a building in downtown Bakersville that will be turned into a dental clinic in connection with Bakersville Community Health Center and the Mountain Community Health Partnership. 

The EDC received a grant totaling $45,622 from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority. The grant requires a five percent match from the county. 

“It’s one of those projects that doesn’t take millions of dollars,” Duvall said. “It’s not a lot of money, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.”

The opening of the dental clinic is expected to create seven new jobs – a dentist, multiple hygienists, a dental assistant, a receptionist and a project manager. 

Duvall said all the created jobs will carry a competitive salary, adding the average annualized wage in Mitchell County is $39,732. 

Duvall said all of the jobs will be competitive to the local annualized wage and will carry strong benefit packages. 

“We’re creating some very high-paying jobs,” Duvall said. “When you average these jobs out, they’re well above the average annualized wage.”

The commissioners opened the public hearing, which remained open for less than a minute, before closing after no public comments were made. 

Duvall thanked the board for its cooperation with the project and reiterated his excitement. 

“This dental clinic will serve a great need for people in remote areas in and around Bakersville and in the 28705 zip code,” he said. “This has been a really great project.”