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What the heck is REVVED UP?


REVVED UP is an acronym that stands for…

Robbinsville Envisioning Vital, Vibrant Economic Development and Urban Prosperity

          Starting out as a citizen-led, volunteer organization that worked with the Town of Robbinsville and Graham County for nearly two years, REVVED UP established itself as a 501(C)(3) corporation in December of 2019. Since that time, we have continued to work with the Town (along with several other town, county, regional, and state organizations) to revitalize, beautify, and improve the economic development, and quality of life for all of the citizens in our Town and the surrounding area.

          Since inception, the first priority of REVVED UP has been the beautification and improvement of our “uptown” business district on Main Street. The goal being to improve this area as much as possible by the 150th Anniversary of Graham County in 2022.

Some of the projects REVVED UP has been involved with include:

          ⦁    Starting under the umbrella of the Church Mouse non-profit, REVVED UP partnered with the Town            of Robbinsville, Graham County, and the Main Street, U.S.A. office of NC to revamp the old VFW Building on Main Street. This building now sports a new roof, a new façade, and the south elevation has been prepped for a mural honoring 7 women of the Snowbird Cherokee community. The mural should be completed soon and a temporary view deck, (funded by Graham County Travel & Tourism, GREAT, and the Robbinsville Tourism Authority), has been constructed which will hold an information kiosk for the mural. Work has already begun on interior renovations. Graham County Schools has partnered with the Town of Robbinsville and GREAT and plans to open 2 or 3 new businesses there which will offer education and employment opportunities for their high school students as well as the private sector.

           ⦁    REVVED UP has provided design drawings for a 7,000 sq. ft. pavilion to be built on 3 vacant lots south of the VFW Building. These lots have already been cleared and the first phase will be to construct a concrete deck/floor at the same height as the floor of the VFW Building. Covered bleacher seating and a covered stage with retractable movie screen will be added after completion of the deck. This project was made possible by Shelby Ripka and her sister, Mary Taylor, who greatly reduced the sale price of their properties to make purchase possible for the project.

          ⦁    With financial support and manpower from the Town of Robbinsville, name-branded entry signs were  designed and built at the north, east, south, and west entries to the town.

          ⦁    Pedestrian wayfinding signs have also been designed along with banners for Main Street power poles. Funding for this project was provided by GREAT’s Strategic Tourism Phase II Implementation funds and is scheduled for completion in the near future.

          ⦁    The first ever REVVED UP Robbinsville Poker and Rod Run, featuring a wiener roast and concert on the town square, was held in August, 2019, with the help of the Town of Robbinsville, Graham County Events, the Robbinsville Tourism Authority, and Graham County Travel and Tourism. The Girl Scouts, Graham County EMS, and several area residents volunteered to work on this event and helped to man the card stops.
Several area businesses donated door prizes. Together, we raised nearly $2,500.00 for Graham County EMS.

          ⦁    Thanks to a grant from the State of North Carolina and funding from the Town of Robbinsville, the old Town Hall has had a facelift and a long term lease has been negotiated. The new tenant, Big Easy Chair LLC, is planning to open 1 or 2 businesses there soon.

          ⦁    Former Robbinsville homeowner and current Florida resident, Cheryl Thompson, approved of our design drawings for a “pocket park” and magnanimously donated her vacant lot, next to the old Town Hall (behind the stone façade), to REVVED UP for the construction of this park. We are currently seeking proposals from engineers and contractors, as well as funding for the project.

          ⦁    Local businesses, individuals and organizations donated $225.00 each to place a dozen “street trees” with decorative, solar lights on Main Street. REVVED UP is shopping for larger planters and we hope to place another 6 to 12 trees in the near future.

          ⦁    With financial support from Graham County Travel & Tourism and the Robbinsville Tourism Authority, the First Annual REVVED UP Robbinsville Christmas Decoration Contest was organized in December, 2019. There were 18 entrants and well over 20 nicely decorated buildings. The contest was free to enter and $1,000.00 in prize money was divided among 7 different winners!

          ⦁    In a joint effort with the Town of Robbinsville, 8 prototype “pole flags” around the courthouse have been painted. This flag design has been funded and contracted to paint on all the remaining poles on South, North, and East Main Street making us an “All American Town”.

          ⦁    Working together with the Town and State, REVVED UP helped to create an “Uptown” historic district which will enable property owners to receive tax credits for improving their contributing Main Street properties.

          ⦁    A photographic survey and streetlight map has just been completed which is allowing us to seek proposals and suggestions to help “Light Up” Main Street and make it more pedestrian friendly.

          ⦁    A local artist and design have been selected for a mural to be painted on the Lovelace Building (old doctor’s office) on the Town Square. Work will begin on the project as soon as funding can be secured.

          ⦁    The Appalachian Regional Council and the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center worked with REVVED UP to create an Economic Revitalization Strategy for Robbinsville. Together with Town Council members and staff, we look forward to implementing, revising, and updating this strategy in the coming years.

          ⦁    A contractor was selected to create and install a website that will spread “REVVED UP” news and information about us to the people we are working for and with.

          ⦁    A “20 Year Plan” for Robbinsville and the surrounding area has been created. The plan is not static, but fluid, and intended only to open discussions for future possibilities. It can provide guidance for economic growth, urban planning, and a better quality of life for Robbinsville residents and neighbors.

          ⦁    Scott Nurkin, owner of The Mural Shop, is creating a statewide mural trail featuring musicians who were born and raised in North Carolina. The Town of Robbinsville led the way by funding a mural honoring Ronnie Milsap, who was born in Robbinsville in 1943. Graham County Commissioners voted unanimously to allow the mural to be placed on the north end of the agriculture extension building. Scott completed the artwork for the mural on June 21st, 2021. REVVED UP is overseeing this project through their Music and Arts Mutual Agreement program. Graham County Festivals has promised to help with funding for a dedication ceremony/mountain music festival/car and motorcycle show sometime this fall and GREAT has agreed to help with volunteers for the celebration.

          ⦁    The Robbinsville Tourism Authority and the Town of Robbinsville joined with REVVED UP to create a bigger and better Christmas Celebration in 2020. The contest was free and there were over a dozen generous cash prizes for the best decorated businesses and residences within Town limits. There were 24 registered entries among many other decorated buildings and $1,300.00 in prize money was awarded.

          ⦁    The Town of Robbinsville and REVVED UP are exploring the possibility of acquiring property and funding to create a walking trail, town terrace, and a possible stone tower between Ford Street and the Town Square.

          ⦁    Working together, we are striving to create more murals, bring artwork, and establish a friendlier environment along our Main Street Business and Historic district.
Our non-profit organization wants to expand its membership base, volunteers, and leadership. We can then increase our on-going projects and have a bigger and better impact on our business environment and the quality of life for everyone in and around the Town of Robbinsville.


Our Executive Committee includes: Brian “Taco” Johnson (Vice Chair), Bryan Farley (Treasurer), Anne Hager (Secretary), and John Colwell (Chairman). Other Board Members are: Angie Knight (School Superintendent), Zena Rattler (EBCI Liaison), Karen Taylor (RTA Director), Savannah Vining (Volunteer Grant Writer and MPA candidate at WCU), Steve Hooper (Robbinsville Mayor, Ex-officio), Sophia Paulos (Graham County Economic Director, Ex-officio), and Michelle Shiplet (Founder, GREAT Executive Director, Ex-officio). We have many other (too numerous to list here) members and volunteers who have supported us from the beginning. We want to acknowledge and thank them all here!

                                                                         How can you help?
      We need suggestions and ideas on how we can improve the business environment, appearance, and quality of life in and around the Town of Robbinsville. Please fill out one of our survey questionnaires here or send your suggestions to REVVED UP, P.O. Box 1241, Robbinsville, NC  28771.

       We need new members and volunteers to help man our 8 standing committees and other special committees as needed. And we need idea people to help with management and leadership roles as we continue to grow. Contact any of our board members or call John Colwell at 828-348-9620 for more information. Covid has slowed our progress in 2020, but we hope to begin holding regular membership meetings again in 2021.

    We have an urgent and immediate need for funding for our current projects and annual operating expenses, such as:

⦁    Community Pavilion at VFW Building site…………………………..............…Approx.  $250,000.00
⦁    Cheoah Heritage Park at Old Town Hall site……………………...............….Approx.  $100,000.00
⦁    Abstract Mountain Destination Mural on Lovelace Building…….......Approx.  $25,000.00
⦁    Additional Robbinsville Mural Fund (to provide 2 or 3 murals)…......Approx.  $25,000.00
⦁    Annual operating budget…………………………………………….........................….Approx.  $30,000.00

     If you believe, as we do, that the work we have undertaken is both necessary and worthwhile, please help us with a tax-deductible donation or contribution to REVVED UP or send your contribution to the address listed above. You can also share your ideas and fund raising skills by joining our organization. By working together, there is no limit on what we can achieve!

    Thank you for taking a few minutes to learn about us. May God bless you all and the community we live in.

From the Board of REVVED UP

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