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Answering your most frequently asked questions from county budgets to new businesses coming to town

The very second we confirm something, we share it with you. This means — often times we are reporting on developments months before they would normally be announced, which may seem like the process for it to be built and completed is taking a long time. We typically report on a new business or development as soon as permits or deeds are filed — however general that information wouldn’t be public until the business announces development plans — or a public request for something like water or sewer would need to be made. But instead, you are finding out these things in real-time as they are happening. So keep that in mind when things seem to be taking a little longer to pop up— or — like in the case of Marshalls, plans change for one reason or the other. 

Based on some of the frequently asked questions we get, here is what we do know and can confirm today for upcoming projects in Macon County. 

Jersey Mike’s is expected to open their new Franklin location by early Q3 2023. Jersey Mikes is expected to be part of a shopping center development — however, no other stores are confirmed for the yet-to-be-built plaza. 

Cookout is still under construction and will be located in the former Dairy Queen Building on the Georgia Road.

A local resident has filed paperwork for a Firehouse Subs in Franklin — but that is all the information we have at this time. 

The building beside Chick-fil-a will be an Aspen Dental. Next to Aspen Dental is excepted to be a stand-alone Starbucks, and then an Aldis. After the 2.852 acres, Aldis will be constructed on, there is another 1.88 acres parcel, however at this time we do not have any information what, if anything, will be built there. 

We have heard rumors of a Publix, but at this time have no reason to believe that to be true. 

Yes, we have heard the Marshalls rumors and that they will be coming to Franklin, just in another location than originally expected — while there have been NO permits or anything filed for this — we are 75% this rumor is true. This is NOT a confirmation, so please don’t shoot the messenger if things change — but based on the information we have received, we do believe this will end up happening and as soon as we are able to confirm the suspected location, we will share that with you all. 

For those who do not know and ask — the construction by the former Walmart Plaza — also known as Holly Springs Plaza will be an Ingles — not ANOTHER Ingles, as the Ingles currently there will be transitioned to the new construction… leaving a pretty LARGE, open empty building in that plaza… 

The construction off the highway by Bojangles is the new Angel Medical Center Hospital. It was originally scheduled to open on June 28 — so while I don’t think that date is the target any longer, it will be open very soon. No, there are no confirmed plans as to what will happen to the current hospital, although those discussions are taking place. 

I have been asked why I have not reported on the skatepark and what is going on there — I have not reported on that because I think there are too many unknowns at this time to say anything specific one way or the other outside of the fact that JE Dunn, who originally approached the town about constructing the skatepark has had a change in employment that resulted in some communication failures — but I believe this will ultimately be a blessing as the skatepark project now has potential to be bigger and better than before. I can confirm that both the town of Franklin and Macon County are committed to this project and are working together to make it a reality — so while it may be taking a little longer than first anticipated — I can assure you it will be worth it. There is an awesome fundraiser planned for the skatepark we will be sharing details on this week, so stay tuned for that. 

No, I do not know why Little Caesars in Franklin closed down and they have not returned multiple requests for comment and information. 

Macon County School expansion/.renovation projects are all still moving forward — the county has approved bids for proposals for designs for a new Franklin High School School — commissioners are still looking at adding preschool classrooms in Highlands — but this is in the very early stages — there are plans in motion for 6 new classrooms at East Franklin Elementary, which will include the first prek classrooms at that school and is expected to help overcrowding at all prek’s in the district (there wasn’t space for my child this year, so I get the frustration from parents here!) Macon Middle School is moving forward and nearing completion. 

Broadband update — the county has been part of several significant broadband projects, with grant funding for private businesses being separately allocated for projects as well. I am working on a deep dive into these projects and getting this information for you as I know it is of great interest to so many people — so know I am working on this and these projects are still in motion. 

Macon County did approve their $59 million budget in a vote 3-2. The budget DID include a $52k increase to funding for libraries in Macon County (three libraries, Highlands, Nantahala, and Franklin) to cover operating costs but did NOT include the $20k increase request made by the library and championed by Commissioner Beale for employee salaries. The budget DID include a COLA for county employees and fire tax increases for four fire departments, although two of those increases what not what the department requested based on their needs. 

Jackson County Commissioners approved their budget which includes the 2 cent tax increase for property taxes, which was approved by voters in a referendum in November 2020 to construct a new indoor aquatics facility in Cullowhee. 

As you can see, this is A LOT for one person to cover — and I do my best. I often joke about how everyone expects me to know everything about everything — but as I typed all of this up, I laughed realizing that I guess I have created that expectation on my own. If you are interested in being a contributor to the Southern Scoop — and have an interest in ANY area of Macon, Jackson, or Swain County and want to help keep the public informed, please email me today! I could use some help!

Finally, if you find value in the work of The Southern Scoop News and want to see it continue, please consider a small donation to our online Patreon account. As of today, 18 individuals contribute monthly for a total of $114 which helps to ensure we continue providing you with these types of updates. To donate, click here. 



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