Board elects Horton to fill Thompson's set

Chimney Rock Village Council
Jan. 23, 2014 @ 03:12 AM

A full-time resident of Chimney Rock Village since 2007 was elected to Village Council Tuesday night on a 3-1 vote.

Chuck Horton was elected to fill the unexpired term of former council member Linda Thompson, who resigned due to personal conflicts. Her term ends in Nov. 2015 and Horton will serve until that time. When the term ends he will have the opportunity to seek election.

Mayor Pro Tem Rose Senehi submitted Horton's name for nomination and Village Council newcomers Bruce Godzik and April Sottile voted with Senehi.

Mayor Barbara Meliski nominated Penny Keys for Thompson's seat. Keys ran for a seat on Village Council in November along with Sottile and Godzik. She was defeated in November.

The turn of events was surprising for some attending the meeting.

Keys and Horton attended the meeting and addressed council.

Horton said he was approached by filling Thompson's term by Senehi and said if he was elected he would serve.

"I am excited about this," Horton said Wednesday afternoon after the election.

As a tourist town Chimney Rock Village faces many challenges, Horton said.

Among challenges is the future plans to move the entrance to Chimney Rock State Park from Main Street to another location.

He said he is concerned that change will be a deterrent to the town's tourism industry. 

"We need to get more people here and stay here longer.  A lot of people come from Asheville and Hendersonville just for day trips." 

"There is a lot of new blood in Chimney Rock," Horton said of the three new council members. He believes there will be fresh new ideas andsome "out of the box" things will be brought to the table by new council members.

Horton said his mind had been racing Wednesday with unique ideas. "It will take some doing. It it will be a unique approach," he said. 

Horton, who grew up in Rutherfordton, attended UNC Charlotte and worked in the customer service department for US Airways before buying a home in Chimney Rock Village in 2003.

Tuesday night's meeting was recessed until Feb.11 at 6:15 p.m. when council will reconvene for a workshop.

Meliski said the workshop, which was scheduled for Tuesday night, will be a time to educate the three new council members on the history of the village and the continued growth and development of the village since it became a chartered town in 1991.