County Commissioners voted Monday night to allocate $150,000 to Silvermont Park repairs and improvements in the upcoming new budget.
Chairman Mike Hawkins made the motion for support of Silvermont, saying that he wanted the current momentum at the park to continue.
Nearly 100 supporters of Silvermont attended the meeting and, at one point, stood to show their support.
Also several community leaders spoke at the meeting, asking county commissioners to include Silvermont Park funding in the new fiscal year budget. (Click to see full text.)
“For 40 years, several community groups have volunteered thousands of hours and donated thousands of dollars from their groups, local businesses and individuals to the care of Silvermont Park,” says Jeannie Falknor, co-chair of the committee
“The commissioners’ action Monday shows their respect for Silvermont’s place in our history,” says Falknor. “And it is recognition that Silvermont has economic development and tourism potential if properly repaired and maintained.”
“It is also a place that – at its full potential — could produce significantly more revenue for the county to help offset the costs of its maintenance,” she says.
“We thank the commissioners for their support.”
Those speaking at the meeting provided details on their volunteer activities at Silvermont since it was donated to the county in 1972. They described improvements made by the groups, funds raised and volunteer projects.
“Over 3,200 volunteer hours have been dedicated to the gardens since 2010,” says Diane Kuehn, president of the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. “We used $7,500 of our own funds for plants and received $20,000 from over 50 individuals and businesses.”
“Including the value of volunteer hours, we have contributed $95,000 since 2010 to the Gardens of Silvermont,” she says.
Bob Hurring, treasurer of Friends of Silvermont, pointed out that the Friends have “continued to provide labor and financial assistance such as helping to fund the second floor museum, trimming hedges, rebuilding outside benches and donating $10,000 to the Centennial Committee for mansion window repair.”
At the mansion’s museum, co-coordinator Jan Osborne said that the museum has hosted over 1,000 visitors from 20 states and 3 foreign countries since it opened in January 2011.
“Dedicated docents have introduced 329 local school children to the history of the mansion and the remarkable Joseph Silversteen family,” she says. “Volunteers have donated hundreds of hours.”
Other speakers included leaders of French Broad Gardeners, Transylvania County Historical Society, Silvermont Opportunity Center, Walk of History, Wildwood Design and parents of young children.
The Silvermont Centennial Committee is organizing a June 21 event at Silvermont Park called “Celebrating Slvermont: A Family Festival.” It is free and open to all. For more information, go to Event Announcement. or to www.facebook.com/silvermontpark.