by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The Jackson County Commissioners have been working very hard to come up with a corporate welfare package to entice the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to build a turntable in Dillsoro. As with other private-sector solicitations of public largesse, the commissioners requested certain financial data. For that, County Manager Chuck Wooten received a letter from the railroad’s owner, Al Harper, stating:
With regards to the requests for Great Smoky Mountains Railroad audited financials, we do not feel that it is necessary to provide private financial data to a public agency at this time. We are considering our partnership with Swain County as a phase one project and remain open to the concept of implementing the steam extension into Dillsboro as a phase two at a later date.
It has never been our intent to have the residents of Jackson County place unnecessary pressure on individual commissioners for support of this project. It would be much more beneficial for the commissioners to vote in a unanimous form of support as with Swain County.