Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team

Committee Reports - July, 2015

Education and Workforce Development Committee


·        2015-2016 Back to School Drive – The Back to School Supply drive will begin this summer. Our goal is to provide school supplies for approximately 1,200 students at the beginning of the school year.  Monetary donations can be mailed to the following address:

Graham County Schools

52 Moose Branch Rd.

Robbinsville, NC  28771


·        RHS Outdoor Classroom -  RHS Carpentry instructor, Rick Parham, and two high school students along with several GREAT volunteers have started work on the outdoor classroom on the RHS campus.



·        Dolly Parton Imagination Library - DPIL Numbers:

o       272 currently registered

o       420 graduated

o       771 served

Health and Social Committee


·        Working with WNC Healthy Impact to apply for a $1000 mini-grant to support Health Education activities in Graham County and to begin a youth centered health promotion campaign that encourages higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, increased physical activity, decreased consumption of sugary drinks and less screen time.

·       Partnering with MountainWise, ECU, and Youth Empowered Solutions to bring additional resources to county that support healthy, local foods in small retail stores.  

·        Open Access Clinic at the Health Department five days a week.

·        Meeting with stakeholders on the options for expansion of medical services in the county.

·        Project REACH: Redefining & Empowering Adolescent & Community Health Summary has identified three counties for implementation of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs to scale. This is a five year grant (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2020) with the Office of Adolescent Health in the amount of $999,999 annually.  Project REACH covers Edgecombe, Graham, and Richmond counties. 

Tourism and Mountain Culture Committee


·        Meetings for presentation the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan with governmental agencies for review and approval have been scheduled.

o       Graham County Travel and Tourism – July 30 at 5 pm

o       Town of Lake Santeetlah – August 18 at 10 am

o       Town of Robbinsville – August 18 at 1 pm

o       Town of Fontana – August 18 at 5 pm

Recreation, Natural Resources and Water Quality Committee

     Benton-MacKaye Trail Association

-     Contributed $3700 and helped install new oak trail signage on the Benton-MacKaye trail which should reduce search and rescue for lost hikers.

     Other Trail Work

-     Two hikes to scout and clear a portion of the Belding Trail.

-     Section of Wolfe Laurel Trail cleared.

     Partners of Joyce

-     Yard Art fundraiser raised $3200.

-     Hill Climb fundraiser raised $850.

-     Heritage Festival fundraiser raised $463.

-     Contributed $5000 and helped install new oak trail signage in Joyce Kilmer which should help in reducing lost hikers and less search and rescue.

-     Created Facebook page for Partners of Joyce Kilmer.

-     Scheduled and held 6 hikes on various trails.

     Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards

-     Two crews of six people worked nine days in the Snowbird and Hangover trail areas on trail work and trail signage.

     Outdoor Classroom

-     Several volunteers provided help on several days to Rick Parham and students in building the outdoor classroom at Robbinsville High School. Work continues.  

Revitalization and Infrastructure Committee


·        The GREAT Broadband Committee has revised the Appalachian Region Commission grant for increased internet access to serve the Tapoco area of the county. The RFP has been provided to interested internet service providers.  

·        Work continues on the America’s Best Communities competition sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel. The proposal submitted by Clay, Graham, Macon and Swain counties has advanced as a team to the quarterfinals of this innovative competition. We are among the 50 quarterfinalist communities that now have six months to complete their revitalization plans and compete for up to an additional $3 million to bring their ideas to life. “We are extremely excited that our four-county entry made it to the final 50 in the America’s Best Communities competition” said Frontier’s Western North Carolina General Manager, Ken Maxwell. “The collaboration and shared vision in these rural mountain communities have created great synergy to build an economically stronger region. The partnership between The Southwest Regional Commission and the Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team (GREAT) was critical to develop a proposal that will make a difference for years to come in Clay, Graham, Macon and Swain counties. We are proud to congratulate our friends and neighbors for being recognized as one of the top 50 quarterfinalists.”