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WHAT’S GOING ON With the Mountain of Dirt Forming on U.S. 321 Across from Highland Landscape Supplies?

By Paul T. Choate

Highland Landscape Supplies’ small mountain of dirt forming from excavation at apartment development near old WHS property. Photo by Ken Ketchie

Nov. 28, 2012. If you have driven along U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock lately, you have probably noticed a small mountain of dirt forming across the highway from Highland Landscape Supplies. So where is all that dirt coming from and what is it going to be used for?

According to Adam Rhyne, owner of Highland Landscape Supplies, the dirt is coming from the Mountaineer Crossing apartments currently in development on N.C. 105 near the old Watauga High School.

In late August, Eggers Construction began “site development,” according to Mountaineer Crossing co-owner Randy Dixon, for the mixed-use development that will comprise retail space and student housing. Backhoes have been scooping dirt that rotating Eggers Construction dump trucks are hauling from the 15-acre property.

Rhyne and Eggers Construction have an agreement that the dirt could be stored there on the Highland Landscape Supplies property and a portion of it will be brought back to the development site at a later date to fill in behind retaining walls still yet to be finished. Rhyne said whatever remains of the dirt after that is his to sell off.

Initially, Rhyne had tried to offer the dirt to the county to fill in the old WHS football field and make it level with the parking lot, but County Commissioner Nathan Miller told Rhyne the county did not have the money to purchase the dirt at the time.

The dirt to be moved back to the Mountaineer Crossing development will be taken during spring 2013.

“Every project that has come up in the past little bit has been huge excavation projects,” Rhyne said. “That’s the nature of building in the mountains. You have to haul it in and haul it out.”

Rhyne said he knew of several ongoing and upcoming projects that may need some of his dirt mountain in the coming months ahead, mentioning the U.S. 321 widening project in Blowing Rock, the planned Middle Fork Falls Resort near Tweetsie Railroad as well as use by various homebuilders.

Highland Landscape Supplies – and the dirt mountain – are located at 3551 U.S. 321, Blowing Rock. For more information, call 828-264-4210.