After being selected as one of five areas in the state for a North Carolina Arts Council pilot project called the SmArt Initiative, Burnsville is now seeing the project get up and running with the a meeting last week with state officials and an urban planner from Seattle Washington who was chosen to lead the implementation of the program in Yancey County. At the forefront of the plan that will be developed with the community and local artists is to create a historic and cultural district in the center of Burnsville and help promote public arts programs that will enhance tourism in the town. TRAC secured funding for the planning and concept development for three major gateways for the new Highway 19 Scenic Byway into downtown Burnsville. The inclusion of area artists in the development of concepts for the gateways is a priority. Planners want to take the new four-lane highway in Burnsville and have it flow as just another town street rather than a bypass, planning to enhance the road with inviting entrances on the east and west ends of town and at South Main Street. All the SmArt projects around the state involve public and private partnerships.