Community raises money for scenic byway 

Published 11:32 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Polk moves forward with phase 1 and phase II 

COLUMBUS—A group of residents who stopped a Highway 108 widening project between Columbus and Tryon have now donated enough money to complete phase I and phase II for a scenic byway.  

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and heard from residents as well as county manager Marche Pittman on the scenic byway project.  

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Stage I of the scenic byway will cost approximately $2,000 and phase 2 will cost $2,500.  

There were 20 people who pledged a total of  $5,435, so all the funding has been raised and no county tax dollars will be needed. 

“We’ve collected more than what we think will be necessary to do phase I and phase II,” Pittman told commissioners. “It doesn’t happen very often in county government.”  

Pittman said the county intends to do a thank you and appreciation for the people who donated.  

Commissioners have already approved moving forward with the project once all the funding was raised. He plans to reach out to the vendor this week to execute the proposal.  

Commissioners heard from four residents Monday night concerning the proposed scenic byway.  

Becky Oliver urged commissioners to go forward with the scenic byway. She also asked that going from Mill Spring to Columbus to Tryon, there are several places the county needs to look at and get rid of some of the trash in yards.  

“Thank you for looking at this and helping us out,” Oliver added.  

Dorothy Easley said Polk County deserves a lot of credit as it is hard to move forward if the commissioners are not behind the project. She thanked all the supporters in Polk County.  

Raleigh has never seen anything like this,” Easley said. “And we are making history and I’m proud of that.”  

She read the names of the pledges towards the project.  

Tom Brylowe thanked commissioners and everyone in the county for their support and said it’s a feather in the county’s caps.  

Andy Haynes said the idea of a scenic byway for portions of Highway 108 has been in the works for almost a year now and he is happy to see some progress getting accomplished. He thank the county for seeing the project to fruition and said he is grateful for all the county has done to make the project happen.  

“I love when people come and speak on things they are passionate about,” Commissioner Paul Beiler said during commissioner comments. “This is the best county in the United States. Thank you guys for doing what y’all are doing.” 

Beiler also expressed his appreciation for the list of citizens who donated and “put their money where their mouth is.”  

The state will determine where and if the scenic byway is approved. Commissioners decided last year for the state to look at all of Highway 108, from Mill Spring and through Columbus and Lynn to connect with the scenic byway from Tryon to Saluda along U.S. 176.