Macon County Commissioner Vice Chairman Ronnie Beale hosted over 100 county commissioners and their family members representing over 45 counties from around the state Thursday. The trip to Macon County was a kick off for this year’s annual conference of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) held in Asheville this weekend.
Beale, who serves as an active member of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners, has also served the state for many years as a member of the NCACC and was sworn in as president of the NCACC Saturday night in Asheville.
According to Beale, this year’s conference has the best attendance the association has seen for many years. While working with county commissioners from around the state, Beale realized many fellow commissioners have never been this far west and thought a day trip to western North Carolina would be a good opportunity to introduce them to Macon County.
“We started with a small group and ending up being a large group; we are so glad to have them visit Macon County on such a beautiful day,” said Beale. “These are good friends of mine, people I have had the opportunity to work with on the association. They have heard me talk a lot about Macon County and they wanted to come see it, and I am so proud to have them come visit the county.”
The county’s special guests arrived by two charter buses from Asheville Thursday morning to tour downtown Franklin. Split up into three groups, the county commissioners visited the Macon County Historical Society, the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum and the Scottish Tartans Museum. Following their visits to Main Street, the group traveled to the Veteran’s Memorial of Macon County followed by lunch at the Robert Carpenter Community Building. Franklin Town Mayor Bob Scott, Macon County Commissioners and other county officials joined the group for lunch during which Scott presented Beale with a key to the city. The commissioners’ last stop in Franklin included a visit to the Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center.
“This is the first time I have been here, and it is absolutely gorgeous; the people are very friendly and the town is very warming,” said Commissioner Renee Price from Orange County. “The mountains are beautiful and I like the way the county has captured the history of the area, there is a nice flow of culture and history.” While visiting the downtown area, Price(pictured right) took advantage of the opportunity to learn about her family heritage and find her tartan plaid with Chuck Coburn at the Tartan Museum.
“I am delighted to be here in Macon County,” said Polk County Commissioner Ray Gasperson. “I was thrilled to visit and could not have been more impressed with the Gem and Mineral Museum; I want to bring my family back so we can spend many hours, because it will take many hours, to go through this wonderful museum.”
The group’s visit to Macon County concluded with a scenic drive up the Cullasaja Gorge to visit Highlands with stops along the way at Bridal Veil and Dry Falls. While in Highlands, the commissioners meet with Patrick Taylor, the mayor of Highlands, and other town officials.
“It’s a beautiful day, and I think it’s a good day for Macon County,” said Beale. “A lot of these folks will be back to visit Macon County.”