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Boone Town Council Meets For Regular Session, Addresses Antisemitic Incident At Temple Of The High Country

By Zack Hill

The Boone Town Council held a regular meeting session on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Town Council chambers at 1500 Blowing Rock Road.

Eric Woolridge of Destination by Design, a local planning and development firm working with the council and county via the Imagine Watauga Initiative to create and enhance various parts of Boone’s public lands and other assets, presented several ideas and proposals ranging from work on the Greenway to creating a green space downtown above a parking deck.

Woolridge spoke about expanding Horn in the West, adding new signage around town, upgrading Horn in the West facilities like bathrooms and the vendor area, and making Jaycee Park more ADA accessible.

He also presented ideas about using approximately 150 acres of town-owned land near Winkler Creek reservoir to construct hiking and biking trails saying it could be a place for a “family-friendly, front-country experience” for families, tourists and residents.

Mayor Tim Futrelle praised the idea saying, “We are a recreation community and know we are blessed every time we look around so utilizing this (Winkler Reservoir land) is a great find.”

Futrelle thanked Woolridge for bringing the issue to the council in a cooperative spirit between city and county.

Woolridge also spoke about creating a green space in downtown in the location of the current King Street pay parking lot. Some mock-ups showed a parking deck over the current lot with a new green space on top. No parking space would be lost because of the project.

The council passed a motion for Destination By Design and the Watauga Tourism Development Authority to continue with development of these potential projects.

Monica Caruso, director of Appalachian Regional Library, also provided a fiscal year-end report that highlighted several events the library held over the previous 12 months as well as revenue and income information.

Some of the events included bringing local schoolchildren in for extra, library-centered education sessions, a booksale that brought in $2000-$2,500 in additional funds and several events that brought local and regional authors in to speak to the community.

Caruso said the library’s five-year plan is to expand the library, apply and receive more grants, streamline library services and provide more outreach to the community and surrounding areas.

“Just because we live in a town with a university doesn’t mean everyone has the resources they need,” Caruso said in highlighting the need for more outreach.

The town passed a resolution on Developmental Disability Awareness Month which will be inaugurated in March of this year.

The board also approved a resolution on Antisemitism Education and Awareness in light of last week’s incident at The Temple of the High Country in which a still un-apprehended suspect waved and left a flag with a swastika on it at the Temple before police could arrive. The incident is still under investigation by Boone Police and other local and state authorities.

“It’s disgusting, honestly,” said Mayor Futrelle. “This is very saddening for our community. This is not who we are. We are inclusive, we are loving, we are accepting, and we do not allow for this type of conduct or behavior. This is unacceptable, deplorable and we condemn it in every way.”

“Bigotry in all forms, antisemitism, not accepting people with developmental disabilities, people who want to express their identities, people with different skin colors or economic situations—this is not how business is conducted in the town of Boone and I believe it’s important we speak out against it,” Futrelle continued.

Council member Todd Carter echoed much of Futrelle’s statement saying, “I wish I could say I was just sad but I was enraged. Since moving here the Jewish community has embraced me. I am grateful for everything that the community brings. I see the Jewish community as part of the fabric of the Boone community.”

Council member Virginia Roseman said, “I would like to say to all the members of the temple that I am sorry, so sorry, that someone chose to bring hate to your temple that’s only filled with love. I hope that love will outshine their hate.”

“We are in your (Jewish community’s) corner,” said council member Dalton George. “This has no place in our town.”