GREAT Projects  2018-2019 (Click for more information)

     
Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project
  
Nourishing Food Grant
  
Robbinsville High School Sweetwater Creek Restoration and Education Project - Phase III
   
Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Implementation – Phase II
  
Graham County Broadband Infrastructure Project
  
Kids in Parks

 

      
Name:                     Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project
Funding Agency:     Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team

Summary:

As a result of individual, business and agency donations and support, the Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team organization has been successful in bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the children of Graham County. The organization has agreed to serve as the 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization for this program. Contributions are fully tax deductible and a confirmation letter for your files will be provided following your support.  Through your support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library you can make a huge difference in the future of Graham County children and the future of our community.  The cost is approximately thirty-five dollars ($35) per child per year. 

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (www.imaginationlibrary.com) is a proven book immersion program that provides high quality books (one per month from birth to age 5) to all registered children in Graham County regardless of income level.  These are high quality, age-appropriate reading materials carefully selected for each age group.  The cost is FREE to all children of Graham County.

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Name:                         Nourishing Food Grant

Funding Agency:        North Carolina Recreation and Park Association

Amount:                      $3,100

Summary:

The project will focus on the Community Garden concept of providing the community with access to fresh vegetables via community gardens. The GREAT organization will facilitate this unique approach in collaborating with the Graham Health Department, Graham Food Distribution Coalition and Stoney Hollow Farm in addressing this need. 

The trouble most community gardens run into is maintaining a consistent volunteer base to work the garden and getting the food to the most "at risk" population. This project not only addresses both of these issues, but marries the needs of the food insecure with goals of the health community in providing a wide variety of healthier food options, all the while making the participants into stakeholders.

The grant funds will be used in collaboration with the Graham County Health Department and the Graham Food Distribution Coalition to distribute monthly vouchers to the most needy to be used in selecting and picking fruits and vegetables of their choice. Stoney Hollow Farm has agreed to provide a discount of 10% percent to these customers so they can get a significant volume each month. As an incentive for participants to try new fruits and vegetables, the owners have agreed to provide small class cooking instruction for some of the more exotic items.

This is a unique approach in meeting the overall goal of getting nourishing fruits and vegetables to a needy population, especially food insecure children, through a "hands on" approach by the participants.

 

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Name:                      Robbinsville High School Sweetwater Creek Restoration and 

                                 Education Project - Phase III

 

Funding Agency:     Cherokee Preservation Foundation - Revitalization of Traditional  

                                  Cherokee Artisan Resiurces (RTCAR)

 

Amount:                   $16,500.00

Summary:

The Project will take advantage of the natural resources found on the Robbinsville High School (RHS) campus to initiate a "living laboratory" along the Sweetwater Creek Greenway, through development and first-year implementation of a management and restoration plan that will involve invasive exotic plant control, native tree and shrub planting, rivercane management and harvesting, and biological monitoring of Sweetwater Creek and its riparian habitat through fish and bird sampling. The project will involve the RHS physical sciences classes in all aspects of the project, utilizing the recently-completed RTCAR-funded outdoor classroom .

     The project will continue with a final Phase III of a “living laboratory” along the Sweetwater Creek Greenway on Robbinsville High School (RHS) campus, through continued implementation of a restoration plan that involves invasive exotic plant control, native plant establishment, rivercane management and harvesting, and biological monitoring of Sweetwater Creek and its riparian habitat through fish and bird sampling. The project involves the RHS Earth Science and Biology classes in all aspects of the project. This year, the project will also involve RHS Art classes, in collaboration with Cherokee rivercane artisans. This is the final year of a three-year project.

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Name:                         Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Implementation – Phase II

Funding Agency:        Appalachian Region Commission

Amount:                      $100,000

Summary:

The Strategic Tourism Plan Implementation – Phase II project will continue the implementation of components of the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025. The goal of the Strategic Tourism Plan is to double tourism impact in Graham County from $25 to $50 million by 2025 as measured by statistics provided by the NC Department of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development. The increased tourism impact will be realized through the implementation of four project components: Wayfinding Signage, Online Mapping and Marketing, Buy Local Campaign and Downtown WiFi. Tourism is the primary economic driver in Graham County.

The production of a strategic tourism plan was the team project developed during the Appalachian Gateway Communities workshop held in January 2014. Since the completion of the strategic tourism plan in 2015, several recommendations have been implemented including the production of the Graham County Asset Map (team project developed during the Appalachian Gateway Communities workshop held in December 2015). In addition, the Graham County Destination Identity and Branding Project (ARC NC – 18379), which created branding materials for the county, has been completed. The system of branding materials developed in this project will be used as the thread that connects visitors to the many attractions, businesses, and assets of Graham County.

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Name:                         Graham County Broadband Infrastructure Project

Funding Agency:        Appalachian Region Commission

Amount:                      $100,000

Summary:

The Graham County Broadband Infrastructure Project will address the lack of high-speed internet access in specific areas of the county. A Request for Proposals will be issued and a contract with an Internet Service Provider will be completed to deploy high-speed Internet service in currently underserved and un-served communities. The project will provide telecommunication infrastructure that enables up to five communities with approximately one-third (3,000 residents) of Graham County's population to access a high-speed Internet connection.

The GREAT organization in collaboration with NC Broadband Infrastructure Office will develop and issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) and contract with a private Internet Service Provider (ISP) to deploy high-speed Internet service in identified communities of Graham County. The GREAT Broadband Committee will review the proposals and select an ISP that will meet the requirements of the RFP. Proposals will be judged on cost, history of service to the community and provider reliability. Selected provider will provide the required minimum 20% match for project. The selected provider's construction elements may include wireless technology infrastructure.

 

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Name:                         Kids in Parks

Funding Agency:        Duke Energy and Graham County Travel and Tourism

Amount:                      $24,600

Summary:

 

     The Graham Revitalization and Economic Action Team (GREAT) will work with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks (KIP) program to leverage Graham County’s cultural and natural resources to promote growth in its tourism economy. The KIP program will create a visitor experience by enabling kids and families to become active outdoors and reconnected to nature. The project will partner with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to convert the Cheoah District’s historical Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Trail and Fitness Trail into the program’s TRACK Trail system. Components will include the construction of stations and development of interactive materials that actively engage kids in the resource. In particular, the Growing Opportunities Program funds will be used for the design and fabrication of two interpretive signs to be installed along the handicapped trail section and a brochure for the CCC Camp NC-24 detailing its historical significance.

In partnership with the USFS, GREAT will work with volunteers and USFS employees to revitalize the Cheoah Ranger District’s CCC and Fitness Trail. The trail is located at the historical site of CCC Camp NCF-24 that was in operation from 1934-1942. This 3.0 mile trail system is within a few miles of Robbinsville and includes a quarter mile handicapped section with access to a viewing deck overlooking the CCC camp site. The relevance of this site to economic revitalization and the linkage with its cultural and historical significance make this project especially appealing.

 

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