Community Development Association receiving $1,000

Gala is Wednesday night
May. 11, 2014 @ 04:25 AM

The Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation will break tradition this year by giving its annual Community Impact Award to a little ‘can-do’ organization .

The Foundation will pay tribute to the Chimney Rock Community Development Association during a celebration at the Esmeralda Inn on Wednesday, May 14 at 5:30 pm.

During the event, the Foundation will award a grant to the 19-year-old organization for $1,000.

In making the announcement about the Community Impact Award, Foundation Chairman Jim Dunn, said the CDA has had a great impact on the community.

“This is the first time we have given this award to an organization rather than an individual,” he said.  “And we think they are very deserving.  Their projects and fingerprints are all over the Village of Chimney Rock and their impact is everywhere, much more than many people may realize.”

Upon hearing news of the award, Aileen Kelly, CDA President, said that it will greatly help in the planning stages of several projects the group has on the radar.

In the four years that she and her husband Doug have been here as owners of the Esmeralda Inn, she said she has seen the impact the organization has made.

“I see a great effort on the part of the CDA and an excitement about events and activities that we have planned.  We are bringing new blood into the group and getting some new energy.  The CDA can bring a new effort and new mindset to improve Chimney Rock Village and spread that throughout Hickory Nut Gorge," Aileen Kelly said. “Going forward the CDA will continue working on everything from small beautification projects to larger infrastructure projects, such as a trail connecting Lake Lure to Chimney Rock and improving the Village’s sidewalk system. This award will really help us with these projects and for that we are certainly grateful to the Foundation for its support.”

Mayor of Chimney Rock Village, Barbara Meliski echoed a similar sentiment with regard to the importance of the Foundation’s support.

Having seen the CDA grow from a loose merchants' association in the mid 1990s into a dynamic group that gets results, Mayor Meliski said, “The CDA is a group of volunteers who have jumped in and work hard to get things done.  We have been able to leverage our funds and donations like this one from the Foundation to achieve much more than we thought we could do.”

She went on to say that people likely support the CDA because they see the success and the results. 

“It is all about the volunteers,” she said.

Amy Wald served as president of the CDA for five years and observed that the group works because of its positive attitude. 

“We think we can get things done, we don’t see barriers.  The CDA gives Chimney Rock Village the ability to decide what we need to do, what will benefit us, and then we find a way to get it done," Wald said. "We don’t have to work through a lot of red tape or committees. We are a small, active community and we just get it done.”

Of the group’s commitment and enthusiasm, Aileen Kelly closed by saying, “We are making a difference and encourage everyone to join our efforts to present the best face possible for Chimney Rock Village to show the world,”

Cost for Wednesday's gala is $30 per person or $50 per couple. This includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and beer and wine from 5:30 to 7 p.m. 

Proceeds support the ongoing work of the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation.

Contact Bob Keith at 828-625-2874 or Peter O’Leary at 828-625-2479 for more information or to make reservations.