BULADEAN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: Economic development main topic at meeting
BULADEAN – The Buladean Community Foundation during its regular meeting Tuesday, July 30, at the former Buladean School, discussed upcoming fundraisers, possible development projects, efforts to attract people and businesses to the north end of Mitchell County, and the $100,000 allocated for the Foundation in the state budget.
“We’re still hopeful,” said Scott Jenkins, Foundation board treasurer about the $100,000, which would be used for building improvements. “It could go from $100,000 to nothing. It’s an unfortunate holding pattern, and I’m told a few votes could be the difference either way.”
Jenkins added he was pleased with recent Community Bible School that took place at the building with the theme “The Incredible Race,” during which children visited a different place each night.
“We averaged 128 children each night and the most we had on one night was 140,” Jenkins said. “The most we had five years ago was 101, so it went very well. We had good instruction, good music and the community can be proud of how it turned out.”
With Mitchell County Commissioners Danny Burleson, Jacob Willis and Matthew “Vern” Grindstaff in attendance, Garland took the opportunity to request a meeting with Mitchell County Economic Development Commission Director Mickey Duvall and the Board of Commissioners about developing plans for Buladean and the north end of the county.
“We don’t have anything left,” Garland said. “We’re struggling along with this. Everything seems to gravitate toward Spruce Pine and Bakersville. We need to have a meeting about what we can do to get things going on this end of the county.”
Garland said, for example, the fitness center in the former school is ready to open, but the Foundation needs help to ensure it is operated correctly.
“We need business models and plans that can help us,” he said. “We need people to help run this fitness center. We need to form partnerships for possible things like a health clinic, child care and arts-related things here at the Community Center. We have plenty of room in this building and people in this community with experience. We need someone to put us on a path to get grants for rural development.”
Garland said he would also like to form a partnership with Mitchell County Recreation to bring youth and adult sports to Buladean.
“There is a lack of adult sports in the area,” he said. “We can use our baseball field, and we have a great gym.”
Commissioner Burleson said he would begin the process of facilitating a meeting with Mayland Community College, the EDC, Mitchell County Recreation League Director Brock Duncan, the commissioners and representatives from the Foundation. Grindstaff suggested reaching out to Mountain Community Health Partnership CEO Chuck Shelton about a possible regular or telemedicine clinic at the Community Center.
Other items discussed at the meeting include:
• The Community Center’s key policy, which Garland called “strict” because it is the only method of accountability for who goes in and out of the building;
• the fish fry fundraiser set for 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at the Community Center;
• the need for Meals on Wheels volunteers in the area;
• using space in the Center for a restaurant;
• a possible food truck at the Center;
• the Rolling’ Neath the Roan Car Show scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Center, which is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser. Foundation board member Cherry Huskins said the goal is raising $20,000, and with this past year’s show raising $15,000, she believes the show will reach or surpass its fundraising goal;
• other fundraisers, such as a turkey shoot or a food truck festival.
The Buladean Community Foundation meets at 6 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month.