Montreat Minute 1/31/20

Condolences

Perhaps you have noticed the Black Mountain and Montreat Town flags flying at half staff since Wednesday. The tribute is in honor of the passing of Black Mountain Alderman Carlos Showers. In a news release from Black Mountain Mayor Don Collins:

Carlos L. Showers, 64, found peace and comfort after an extended illness January 27, 2020. Carlos was committed to those he loved and exhibited his strong will to survive while enduring his fight. Carlos had served as Alderman since 2009 and was the second African American to ever do so in the Town of Black Mountain. Carlos also served as a member of the Black Mountain Swannanoa Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Board and was a member of Mills Chapel Baptist Church. He was known for his dedication to public service and appreciation of those who serve for the betterment of the Town.

We share in offering condolences to Alderman Showers’ family and Black Mountain in their loss.

We Need Your Opinion Again

You may know that the Town engaged in a planning process in 2008. The result was the Town of Montreat Comprehensive Plan. It has been the primary planning directive for 12 years. The Town Council set a goal for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to review and update the 2008 Plan. As the Council begins the process, we need your help. We are seeking opinions from various Montreat stakeholders regarding key issues within the 2008 plan.

Whether you’re a full time resident, part time resident, renter, college student, employee, or someone who comes to Montreat to enjoy what it offers, we invite you to complete a short survey. It takes nine minutes to complete. CLICK HERE to complete the survey. We really need your thoughts on Montreat Today and Montreat Tomorrow.

Project Updates

Several project updates to share with you:

Town Hall

  • Outside, painting has been completed and the cement curbs have been poured for the road leading into the Town Hall and the parking lot on the far side of the building. Watch for road and parking lot preparation in the next week. Landscaping will begin soon, as the trees need to be planted during the winter season. Stone work will begin later in February.
  • Inside, walls and ceilings have had prime paint coats applied. Doors, frames and trim are being installed. Flooring installation has begun, but it is a long process.
  • We are still on target for an early July ribbon cutting and opening, likely over the 4th of July holiday. We’ll keep you informed so you can plan accordingly.

Greybeard Trail Reconstruction

  • Progress continues on repairing the Greybeard Trail damage caused by Tropical Storm Alberto. The temporary diversion of the stream has been nearly completed, allowing the contractor to work near the stream without causing infiltration issues.
  • A portion of the road has been excavated and removed in order to install erosion support. A wall on the north side (Greybeard Trail side) of the creek is being built to support the road and prevent erosion.
  • The contractor has been working to improve the detour. The traffic lights have been synchronized and are checked daily. The wait is approximately six minutes, and the green light is timed at approximately 40 seconds. New reflectors have been placed at particularly steep locations on West Virginia Terrace. If you find problems with the detour, please contact town staff at 828/669-8002 or info@townofmontreat.org. Thank you for your enduring patience.

Meet Darlene Carrasquillo, Finance Officer

Each month we feature a Montreat staff member or Board of Commission member. This month we’re featuring Darlene Carrasquillo.

Darlene has been keeping an eye on Montreat’s finances since October 2018. We were fortunate in recruiting Darlene from UNC Asheville, where she had previously served as the Director of Business Services.

You may be wondering the derivation of her last name, Carrasquillo. Her family is from Spain. They emigrated first to Puerto Rico, then to America, Philadelphia specifically. Darlene was born and raised in Philadelphia, where she also went to college and graduate school, married and raised her family. For anyone who knows Philadelphia, Darlene proudly admits to being a huge fan of Philadelphia scrapple, Philly cheese steaks, soft pretzels and deep dish Philly pizza!

Her working background as an accountant includes positions in public accounting, private sector and academic finance and now governmental finance. Her move to Western North Carolina is rather unique. After a divorce, Darlene decided a new start was what she needed. She Googled “Best Places to Live” and other similar questions and found Asheville kept showing up at the top. Never having spent time in NC, she flew down for a long weekend and fell in love with the area. She made provisions to make the move and completed the transfer in 2016. She did it with no job, no living accommodations and not knowing a single person—she arrived with just her dog Beau and her car. But, when you meet Darlene, you realize that she is bold and resourceful. She found an apartment and didn’t take much time in securing the position at UNC Asheville. When asked how it all happened, Darlene quickly responded, “God brought me here.” She prayed and trusted what she heard.

As you might have deduced, Darlene is not your typical accountant. She describes herself as very social, very flexible and willing to think out of the box. Her interests illustrate those traits. She loves Ford Mustangs, owns one and is a member of the Asheville Mustang Club. She has made a large contingent of friends in her four years here, and they love to hike, go tubing and white-water rafting and other group activities. But her favorite passion is music. She was drawn to Asheville, in part, due to the music scene. She can’t get enough of it!

She and Beau, a toy Australian shepherd, live in a house in Arden. She visits her two daughters who live in New York City and Texas regularly. But, her true desire is to be in the mountains. When asked what she likes about working at Montreat, she said “The people are awesome. We all work really well together as a team. Everyone pitches in to get the work done.” She also enjoys meeting people from the community, saying “The residents and others are very friendly, nice and appreciative for the assistance we provide.”

We’re fortunate to have Darlene on staff. Stop by to introduce yourself.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Landcare Committee: Wednesday, February 5, at 9:00am in the Allen Building
  • Planning and Zoning Committee: Thursday, February 6, at 10:30am in the Walkup Building
  • Town Council Meeting: Thursday, February 13, at 7:00pm in the Walkup Building; the Public Forum precedes the Council Meeting at 6:30 in the same location. All are welcome to attend.

Burning Questions?

Do you have Town-related questions you would like answered? If so, please send them to Angela Murphy at info@townofmontreat.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend.

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