Cullowhee shows tremendous growth

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Jackson County has claimed the title of the 19th highest county growth in the State of North Carolina, but where is the bulk of that growth coming from?

Jackson County’s four, incorporated towns include Dillsboro, Forest Hills, Sylva, and Webster, however, there is one community of Jackson County that has drawn far more residents than any other area of the county.

Cullowhee has grown in alarming numbers over the last 10 years, according to The Sylva Herald a quarter of the county lives there.  Western Carolina University has been credited for the majority of the growth.  More than 3,000 new residents have called the community of Cullowhee home since the year 2000, which brings the total growth rate to some 47 percent.  With the ever-growing population in Cullowhee the thought comes to mind, what plans, if any, does the county have to better life in the Cullowhee area?

Josh Cotton, a graduate student at WCU, said that, “the county needs to realize that Cullowhee is the dominant money producer in the county.” Cotton also stated for WCJ that, “the county needs to put forth a motion to help Cullowhee.”

Jackson County planning director Gerald Green is the county’s line of communication with members of the Cullowhee Revitalization Project (CuRvE), Forest Hills, and the University. 

“We are willing to do anything to help that area.  It is a vital part of the community and could be a great asset to both the county and region,” said Green.

Students and faculty anxiously await word of any progress to bring ‘chain’ business into the area to better suit their needs.  That can’t happen until the areas of Cullowhee and Forest Hills come together.  Political Science major Steven Younts has been following and voicing his opinion of possible annexation of Forest Hills and Cullowhee. 

“If this area was to be incorporated and annexed, we would see a slew of new businesses opening up,” said Younts.  “I want this area to be a place that I look forward to visiting after I graduate, not only to merely visit the college, but to bask in the beauty and prosperity that Cullowhee and Forest Hills could potentially become with the expansions of business and revenue with the incorporating and annexing of the area.”