The board of trustees of Point University announced Tuesday that they would not pursue a merger with Montreat College, citing “complications involving legal agreements regarding Montreat’s main campus and concerns about the merger within the Montreat College family.”
With Montreat College’s future still unclear, many local residents and business owners are concerned about the economic impact to the Swannanoa Valley if the college closes its Montreat and Black Mountain campuses.
“Montreat College has touched the lives of most everyone in our Valley for over 100 years,” Bob McMurray, executive director of the Black Mountain – Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, said. “Several years ago the college provided a comprehensive economic impact study about the college and found that over $3 million annually flowed into the Valley.”
Debbie Wanser, co-owner of C.W. Moose located in downtown Black Mountain, is a merchant who would feel the loss of Montreat student and parent spending. Her store carries T-shirts with Black Mountain themes, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and more.
“We would be greatly impacted due to the large number of students and parents who shop with us,” said. “I think the entire downtown would be impacted if the campus was closed.”
The college’s property in Black Mountain is tax-exempt so there would be no loss in tax revenues for the Town of Black Mountain.