By Jesse Wood
The owners of The Happy Place and Boone Rock-N-Roll Emporium are attempting to spur discussion on gateway development in the eastern part of Boone and Watauga County with an essay contest.
Krista Kull, the co-owner of both downtown Boone establishments, said that the catalyst for this essay contest is the asphalt plant that Maymead is proposing to build and operate along the scenic byway.
Currently, Watauga County residents Randall and Carolyn Henion, who according to court documents live at the closest residence to the site of the proposed asphalt plant, are appealing the Watauga County Board of Adjustment decision to allow Maymead to build an asphalt plant off of U.S. 421.
“That’s kind of where all of this is coming from. We live right there and our child goes to school very near there,” Kull said. “With of all the fighting, we wanted to make sure [to bring some] positive energy into this whole thing.”
The subject of the essay is to articulate the creation of “sustainable recreational development on U.S. 421 from Food Lion at Deep Gap toward Wilkesboro.” The essay contest features a $75 grand prize.
“In an essay of 1,000 words or less, write how you envision developing this breathtaking landscape with the intention of preserving its natural beauty. Perhaps our collective consciousness can go a long way to keep Boone beautiful and to ensure the plans toward sustainable development,” a flyer for the contest reads.
The deadline to submit entries is June 30. Send an email or snail mail essays with name, return address and email to [email protected] or The Happy Place, 641 W. King Street, Boone, NC 28607.
The county has studied gateway development in the past and created a vision plan in 2008. See more about that plan, which specifically mentions the Deep Gap corridor on U.S. 421, here.