Big doins’ in Walhalla

A businessman at a Walhalla meeting shared details of his hopes for converting the county’s former courthouse into a boutique hotel. It would be the kind of lodging facility attractive to those weary of chain facilities. But Jim Carswell admitted he and his partner, John Powell, face the hurdle of finding a lender to build the 55-room “The Courthouse Inn of Walhalla.” Among the planned features are retail shops facing Main Street, a restaurant in the courtroom section, and a dipping pool. The Courthouse Inn would employ a concierge to add a personal touch to a lodge’s needs. Carswell said local bankers are reluctant to float a loan for such a project, but is optimistic that construction funds can be had through the federal government’s Appalachian Development Corporation. He admits that the project is moving slowly and that there’s little progress apparent to the naked eye. The businessmen are targeting 2015 as their finish date.