Filed under: City News
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” That quote, originally spoken by Dolly Parton, was a cornerstone message from Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer at the City of Asheville 2014 State of the City address.
“I really think that fits well for Asheville,” Manheimer told a crowd gathered at the U.S Cellular Center’s banquet hall on October 1. The Mayor took the opportunity to spotlight the city’s sense of pride in culture, creativity and sense of place, but also to talk about the challenges the city faces as it grows.
Fiscal imbalances between growth and expenditures outlined in a 2012 white paper remain, and reduced funding opportunities present their own challenges, but Asheville is fortunate to have local and regional partners that form a network for moving forward.
“Addressing the long-term viability of our region requires an innovative approach to economic development, government services, and a full engagement of the network,” she said.
One option is the creation of Metropolitan Service Districts, or Innovation Districts, currently being considered for three areas of town: The River Arts District, South Slope and Charlotte Street. Investing in these areas in the form of street and sidewalk improvements, stormwater infrastructure and off street parking facilities has the ability to create an environment for economic development, multimodal transportation improvements, affordable housing options and revitalization.
The Mayor stressed the great role of important partners like Buncombe County, the Asheville Housing Authority, A-B Tech, Mountain Housing Opportunities and Green opportunity for forwarding the vision of the community.
“Asheville is not a complacent city,” she said. “ We all want to see the city thrive.”
Are you curious and want to know more? Watch the full video of the Mayor Manheimer’s State of the City address.
October 8, 2014
The announcement that the City of Asheville won $14.6 million in federal funding for transportation improvements in and around the River Arts District and adjacent neighborhoods advances the hard work and planning that has gone into that area. The TIGER VI award was announced September 12 during a visit by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who called the East of the Riverway Multimodal Network Project a “ladder of opportunity in the area.”
Transportation Secretary Foxx (left) with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer at the Sept. 12 announcement at Jean Webb Park.
“These improvements will connect low and moderate income neighborhoods with jobs, neighborhood services and community assets in Asheville’s rapidly developing riverfront,” Foxx said. “With the help of TIGER, Asheville residents and visitors will soon have even greater access to their community, with the ability to bike and walk the city’s streets more safely and securely than before.” See all of Secretary Foxx’s comments here.
The grant award, and a one-to-one match from the city, means that a total of $29.2 million will go into pedestrian and bicycle improvements, traffic flow enhancements, connections to surrounding neighborhoods, greenways and an all around safer transportation experience in the river district, and in adjacent Southside, WECAN and East-West Asheville neighborhoods. Those goals are in line with national visions for enhanced, safe, multimodal transportation options.
The City of Asheville Department of Community and Economic Development and Transportation Department have worked closely with community stakeholders, residents and regulatory officials to coordinate efforts and resources in the riverway, and in 2010 secured a TIGER II grant. That money allowed the city to push forward with planning that was integral to bringing the TIGER VI funding to Asheville.
“We are still celebrating,” said Riverfront Coordinator Stephanie Monson Dahl. “This is a huge piece of the puzzle in the future of Asheville’s riverfront. A lot of people have put in a lot of time and energy into crafting visions for the riverfront and East of the Riverway Neighborhoods, and this award solidifies that effort.”
The East of the Riverway Multimodal Network Project, alongside the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Plan (RADTIP) the Craven Street Improvement Project, and the construction of the New Belgium brewing facility, all play a part in the transformation of Asheville’s river district and creating needed transportation connections there.
“This is a huge win or Asheville,” Mayor Esther Manheimer said at the announcement. “These funds will provide for the continued revitalization of our River Arts District, creating a shared community vision of expanded greenways, street and sidewalk improvements and development opportunities that will continue to generate economic growth for Asheville.”
Groundbreaking on several projects in the East of the Riverway Multimodal Network Project is anticipated to begin in 2015. Watch ashevillenc.gov/projects for updates.
September 15, 2014
It’s time again for Asheville’s annual bicycle and pedestrian count and all are invited to participate.
One of the biggest challenges in crafting effective bicycle and pedestrian plans and weighing demand for multi-modal transportation infrastructure is the shortage of accurate data. The numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians using specific corridors and intersections is crucial to understanding and planning for people who walk and bike.
That’s where the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project comes in.
Over three days, volunteers will count pedestrians and bicyclists at designated intersections. The data is an important factor in estimating demand and activity. The more people who participate, the more locations get counted.
Register to volunteer here.
The count dates this year for Asheville are September 16th – 18th and Saturday, September 20th.
September 8, 2014
A professional association dedicated to quality water services has recognized a City of Asheville Water Distribution Operator with back to back awards for outstanding efforts and contributions to water services.
Timothy Burdine, an 11-year employee of the city’s Water Resources Department, received awards from the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association (NC AWWA-WEA) as well as the AWWA’s national body.
Burdine was awarded the NC AWWA-WEA’s Water Operator of the Year Award and the AWWA’s Operator’s Meritorious Service Award Plaque at conference in Concord, NC earlier this month.
Water Maintenance Superintendent Ivan Thomas says that actions such as Burdine’s handling of traffic, communications and remediation after a recent water break on Swannanoa River Road cut off a major route for ambulances to Mission Hospital led to his nomination for the awards.
Burdine, Thomas says, also has impacted the department by standardizing operational procedures and upgrading them to utilize new technology, reducing water loss throughout the system.
“We are proud of Tim and the great work he does for Water Services,” Thomas said. “And these awards highlight the kind of dedication he brings to his job every day.”
Burdine supervises three work crews that head up construction projects, valve assessment and leak detection and recently oversaw two water construction projects replacing 700 linear feet of galvanized water lines with new pipe. This summer, he began attending Southwestern Community College.
Click here for more on the City of Asheville’s Water Resource Department.
November 25, 2013
Fire engines and police cruisers alike lit up on September 17 at the Murphy-Oakley Community Center and Fire Station Building, but they were not responding to an emergency. The blue and red lights were flashing in celebration of a high-speed communication connection that means better and faster service responses by Asheville’s emergency responders.
The City of Asheville Information Technology Services Department has been working on restoring the fiber-optic reconnection since 2009, and the accomplishment was the result of a great community collaboration. Asheville-based Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas (ERC), which received a grant in 2012 in partnership with North Carolina-based MCNC to enhance its fiber-optic network in Western North Carolina, has partnered with the City of Asheville to connect 12 Fire Stations and 4 Police Stations to dispatchers using its new fiber optic network. The move provides the fastest emergency alert notification available and saves the City of Asheville the approximately $5 million it would have cost to install its own fiber network.
“In a project of this magnitude, there are a lot of moving parts,” said Jonathan Feldmen, the city’s Chief Information Officer. Feldman presented plaques to the ERC’s Executive Director Hunter Goosmann as well as representatives from the Reed Memorial Baptist Church, which allowed the city to use its steeple for a wireless connection while the communication system was in transition.
Joined by firefighters and police officers who rely on the ability to respond quickly in emergency situations, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy spotlighted the increased public safety and even its impacts on the city’s accreditation. “Today we are talking about how to make sure people are even safer,” she said. “To the IT Department, this shows your commitment to making sure the City of Asheville is wired and at a low cost.”
In 2012, Asheville City Council approved a franchise agreement with the ERC in support of the partnership that provides the high-speed fiber-optic access.
September 20, 2013
In December, 2012, the Asheville Fire Department responded to an auto accident on Lyman Street in which a vehicle wound up upside down in the French Broad River with the driver trapped inside.
The team of firefighters that worked the scene would grow to 16 strong, and involved water rescue and dive team personnel, but they managed to save the life of the woman in the vehicle. Those are the kinds of stories the department reflects on each year at its promotion and recognition ceremony. Some stories, such as the French Broad rescue, make headlines. Other times, they are not as widely noted. But in each case highlighted by Chief Scott Burnette at the September 11 ceremony, a life was saved.
“These are all people who are alive today because of the actions of our firefighters,” Burnette said.
The incident recognition has become a tradition at the annual ceremony, held in conjunction with the remembrance of first responders and citizens who perished in the 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In remembering the sacrifice of those fallen, Burnette said, we also honor those who put themselves in harms way in the interest of saving lives.
Mayor Terry Bellamy thanked the firefighters of Asheville for their “unwavering dedication.”
“I know the people of Asheville, Buncombe County and Western North Carolina appreciate the service you provide each and every day,” Bellamy said. “You all answer a call that most of us only think about answering. You run in when others run out.”
Below are those recognized at the ceremony, including promotions, notable achievements and firefighters who have retired since last year’s ceremony.
Retirees in the last year:
Andrew Henderson, Captain
Herbert Roberson, Engineer
James Fox, Captain
Joseph Heafner, Engineer
Johnny McCulloch, Engineer
Mike Bellows, Captain
Keith Gillespie, Captain
Michael Roland, Captain
Ronald Morrow, Captain
Thomas Brown, Engineer
John Gaines, Senior Firefighter
James Cowan, Battalion Chief
Gordon Silvers, Senior Firefighter
David McFee, Assistant Chief
Harley Haug, Senior Firefighter
To Safety Training Officer:
Michael P. Riley
To Senior Firefighter:
Deputy Fire Marshal Tracy Coggins, Advanced Firefighter
Deputy Fire Marshal Rodger Martin, Advance Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Payne, Advanced Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Tre Allen, Advanced Firefighter
Recognition of professional achievements:
Fire Marshal Wayne Hamilton received Fire Marshal Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence on Professional Credentialing and Fire Plans Examiner from the International Code Council.
Arson Investigator David Cutshall received Basic Law Enforcement Training Certification at A-B Tech, Evidence Collection Technician from the International Association of Arson Investigators and Practical Dynamics and Modeling from the National Fire Academy.
DFM Dewayne Fender received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy
DFM Casey Silvers received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy, Level II Fire Inspector.
Acting Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Pollard received Fire Inspector Level II.
Deputy Fire Marshal Rusty Freck received Certified Fire Investigator Technician.
John “Sam” Roberson received Certificate of Merit (RIT Team and Training).
Barry Hendren received the GiGa Innovative Solutions Award.
Zach Wetmore and Philip Padilla recognized for outstanding work with the Asheville City Schools Foundation Celebration Community Choice Award-IRL Program.
Asheville Way Award recipients:
Recognition of significant events:
Childbirth complications – Apr. 14, 2013
Michael G. Riley
Cardiac arrest – Dec. 23, 1012
Cardiac arrest – Apr. 9, 2013
Life Saved, accidental stabbing – July 10, 2012
Life Saved, MVA at French Broad River – December 2, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Dec. 28, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – July 16, 2013
Infant Choking – July 30, 2013
Cardiac Arrest – Aug. 15, 2013
Jimmie Causey II
Trench Rescue – Oct. 4, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Feb. 14, 2013
Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 8, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 1, 2012
Certificate of Merit – Boone RRT Response – June 8-9, 2013
AFD retirees who passed in the last year:
James “Moon” Waldrop, Engineer
Bobby Ingle, Engineer
Eddie Teague, Sr. Engineer
Rayburn Whitt, District Chief
Jack Waites, Captain
James Whitworth, Captain
David Bryson, District Chief
September 17, 2013
On Monday, May 27, the City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and Buncombe County presented the 2013 Memorial Day ceremony at Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park.
The ceremony commemorates the sacrifice and service that men and women have given in the name of protecting the nation, and was attended by veterans and serving members of all branches of the military as well as by public safety and emergency response personnel. Families, friends and supporters filled the park’s seating area to pay tribute to those who have fallen in battle.
“The men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country belong to an elite rank of individuals,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.
A slideshow of Monday’s ceremony can be viewed below.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
May 28, 2013
Streamlining services, innovative problem solving, even saving lives — some of the City of Asheville’s exemplary employees were recognized April 17 at the Asheville Way Awards ceremony. The annual event, held in the Banquet Hall of the U.S. Cellular Center, recognizes those employees who uphold the values of the Asheville Way: Continuous Improvement, Integrity, Diversity, Safety and Welfare, and Excellent Service.
Contenders for the awards, both individuals and teams, are nominated by their colleagues, supervisors and the people they work alongside, and a highlight of the ceremony is hearing the special accomplishments of each nominee.
“This is a great opportunity to hear examples of people who do excellent work across the city in a variety of ways, because that’s who you are,” said Kelley Dickens, the City of Asheville’s Director of Human Resources said at the ceremony.
Below are the nominees in each category, with the winners marked in blue. Congratulations and a big thanks to all nominees. See more pictures at the City of Asheville’s Flickr page.
Rich Rauschenbach – Asheville Fire Department
Robert Martin – General Services
John Presley – AFD
Mike Brookshire – Water Resources
Anna Pigman – AFD
Sonia Salgado – Water Resources
Safety and Welfare
Jeremy Godfrey – Water Resources
Linette Sieben – Water Resources
Jamie Bryson – AFD
Hazard Device Team – Asheville Police Department
Jason Williams – IT Services
Keith Mastin – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Nick Harvey – Public Works
Sandra Travis – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Holly Waltemyer – Human Resources
Special Victims Unit – APD
Drug Suppression Unit – APD
Battalion 3 C Shift – AFD
APD Day Shift Downtown Unit
Kevin Taylor – APD
Ron Kerns – Water Resources
Robert “Rock” Jones – Public Works
Douglas Quinones – AFD
Open Data Catalog Team
Above and Beyond
Erik Hagen – General Services
Kathy Wilson – IT Services
Josh Darty – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Brenda Mills – Finance
Charity Constant-Morris – Finance
Diane Meek – Development Services
Dion Eskew – General Services
Avery Gibbs – AFD
Anthony Oliver – Public Works
Rafael Bango – AFD
Hayne Griffin – AFD
Public Housing Unit – APD
Transit Master Plan Team – Transportation
Flushing Team – Water Resources
Jonathan Ingle – Public Works
April 23, 2013
There are seven elected members on Asheville City Council, but that body relies on more than 250 people serving on 35 council-appointed Boards and Commissions to help guide policy for the City of Asheville.
From the Downtown Commission to the Greenway Commission to the newly formed Neighborhood Advisory Committee, these are the groups that deliberate and advise on a wide range of issues facing Asheville. Citizen involvement is crucial in making decisions that affect the city, and the recommendations of Council’s Boards and Commissions play a big role in Council’s decisions. Some of the most influential policies in the City of Asheville have their beginnings in one of these bodies.
With so many advisory bodies, seats frequently come up for consideration; in 2013, there will be openings on 22 City Council Boards and Commissions. To fill those seats, City Clerk Maggie Burleson sends out regular announcements of upcoming board vacancies. Asheville City Council selects and interviews applicants, and appoints members all in a public forum. A typical term is three years. There is a lot of great information about applying and serving on a Council Board or Commission here.
But hopefuls don’t have to wait until a vacancy is announced. Applications can be submitted at any time and will be held for up to a year. Click here to download an application.
To receive regular notifications of Board and Commission Vacancies, contact City Clerk Maggie Burleson at 259-5601 or email@example.com. Notices are also posted on the City of Asheville website and on the City of Asheville’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Click here to see the upcoming Board and Commission vacancies for 2013 and early 2014.
Click here to see the “Talent Scout” brochure.
January 8, 2013
Upgrades to Asheville’s transit fleet continue with the replacement of nine buses with newer models. The new buses, two hybrids and seven diesels, began partial service this week and are expected to be in full operation within the next ten days.
The streamlined models are expected to reduce repair costs and fuel expenses as the City of Asheville continues to expand the implementation of the Transit Master Plan.
“This is a big milestone. We’ve been working full speed for four years to get new buses to replace our fleet,” said Transportation Planning Manager Mariate Echeverry.
Four of the buses were purchased with a blend of federal earmarks secured by former Rep. Heath Shuler in 2008 and 2009 and section 5309 of the Federal Transit Administration, allowing for an 80 percent federal funding match. Another 10 percent was picked up by State of North Carolina Department of Transportation and the remaining 10 percent by the City of Asheville.
The remaining five buses, all diesels, were purchased with an allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 covering 100 percent of the cost.
The nine new buses mean that 14 out of 21 buses in the City of Asheville fleet have been replaced, making for a more efficient and reliable bus pool.
The new look of transit in Asheville began in 2011 when blue and green hybrid buses appeared on city streets. By the time phase one of the Transit Master Plan launched this spring, the new buses had become a common sight around the city.
The newest buses sport a more streamlined front end and continuous windows along their length, but they also utilize new automated passenger count technology that will provide needed data to continue to improve the ART system. The technology notes whenever passengers board or disembark a bus.
Those numbers provide data that allow the City of Asheville’s Transportation Planning Division to better understand the needs of the system’s ridership and to prioritize system improvements, as well as submit accurate three-year counts for federal funding applications.
One feature that remains unchanged is the presence of bike racks on buses. The racks have proved themselves to be a crucial enhancement to the growth of multimodal transportation in the City of Asheville, a strategic goal of Asheville City Council.
For more information about the ART system and route/schedule information, go to ridetheart.com.
December 5, 2012