Montreat Minute 04/21/23

Town Bids Farewell to Interim Town Manager

Interim Town Manager Ben Blackburn and Mayor Pro Tem Mason Blake

At a public reception prior to last week’s Town Council meeting, the town said good bye to interim Town Manager, Ben Blackburn. Ben began working in February 2022, following Town Administrator Alex Carmichael’s resignation. During Ben’s tenure, he helped us get through two audits, the second with no auditor recommendations or concerns and the largest unassigned fund balance in history. He also helped in researching and walking the Council through the change of government from a Council- Mayor form to a Council- Manager form. The move significantly helped in the recruitment of a permanent Town Manager. During the reception, Mayor Pro Tem Mason Blake presented Ben with a special plaque and read a letter to Ben from Mayor Helms.

Ben returns home to his wife, Robin, and true retirement. And, as he told everyone, he has a never ending “honey do” list. We wish Ben and Robin well and are extremely grateful for the time he spent with us.

At the same reception, we were pleased to welcome and introduce new Town Manager, Jason Burrell.

Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Montreat Native Plant Sale and Arbor Day Celebration

The Montreat Landcare Committitte’s 2023 Native Plant Sale and Arbor Day observance are scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, April 22, from 9am to 2pm at the Moore Center field by Lake Susan. Come by for a day of shopping, learning, eating, visiting, and enjoying the beauty of Montreat.

Did You Know?

During Montreat’s very early days, transportation was only via horse and buggy. Hence there was a great need for a livery stable, run by F. D. Rood. The rock walls of the livery stable can be seen today, where Shenandoah Road intersects with Assembly Drive (on the property of Dixon and Dody Cunningham’s cottage). The road between Black Mountain and Montreat was in extremely poor condition. Traveling that two-mile stretch could easily take an hour on a good day. Furthermore, the main roads in Montreat were dirt roads, not even gravel and certainly not what they are today.

During the summer rainy season, traveling that route was difficult even for the horses. Since what is now Assembly Drive closely paralleled Flat Creek, it was also prone to flooding. As a result, the most often used roads into Montreat were the driest roads that did not run close to the creek, now known as Mississippi and Virginia roads, which is why many of Montreat’s earliest homes were built along them.

Thanks to the Presbyterian Heritage Center, especially Nancy Midgette, for this glimpse from the past. Stop by the PHC for additional Montreat history and so much more. Have an idea for a future “Did You Know?”? Let Nancy know at [email protected].

Updates and Reminders

  • The Tree Board will meet on Tuesday, April 25th, at 9:30am, in the Town Hall Community Room. The meeting will be live streamed and all are invited to attend. For streaming instructions, CLICK HERE.
  • The Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on Thursday, April 27th, at 10:30am, in the Town Hall Community Room. The meeting will be live streamed and all are invited to attend. For streaming instructions, CLICK HERE.

Questions or Comments?

Do you have Town-related questions or comments to offer? If so, please send them to Angie Murphy at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend!