Canton Faire event Dec. 10 will link WCU, town

Western Carolina University and members of the Canton community will host the Canton Connection Faire on Monday, Dec. 10, to identify ways WCU can help the town.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Colonial Theater Annex at 53 Park St. in Canton.

The town was damaged in 2004 when remnants of hurricanes Frances and Ivan caused flooding that destroyed businesses and temporarily closed the paper mill.

“Western faculty and staff from the Center for Service Learning will hear from Canton residents and business, government and nonprofit leaders about what the community’s needs are and their ideas of how we can work with them,” said Bill Richmond, associate professor of computer information systems. “We also will explain the kind of projects we have completed in the past and what our capabilities are.”

Last year, WCU landed a grant from a national community-based research program for a three-year project to help Canton with flood recovery efforts.

In related projects, WCU entrepreneurship students have worked individually with Canton-area businesses that sought assistance through the Small Business and Technology Development Center at Western.

Richmond has guided students through researching a possible antiques trail in Canton and trail Web site.

WCU and Haywood Community College are collaborating to explore development of a Museum of the Art and Science of Papermaking. This spring, students in a WCU museum and historical site interpretations course will join the effort, said Frank Lockwood, director of Western’s master’s degree program in entrepreneurship.

“These projects are just the beginning,” said Lockwood. “There are opportunities for our students to apply what they are learning in project management, interior design, hospitality and management, history and art courses, just for starters.”

For more information, contact Bill Richmond, associate professor of computer information systems, by e-mail at brichmond@email.wcu.edu or by phone at (828) 227-7192.