Filed under: Mayor

Mayor’s State of the City focuses on innovative growth

“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.

Leave a Comment October 8, 2014

Asheville Police Department promotes two to rank of sergeant

The Asheville Police Department is proud to announce the promotions of two of its officers. On Wednesday, November 20, fifteen year veteran Detective Ricardo Martinez and Senior Police Officer Shaun Ward, an 11 year veteran, were promoted to the rank of sergeant at a ceremony in Asheville City Council Chambers.

The ceremony was officiated by Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and attended by the families, friends and colleagues from the Asheville Police Department and the City of Asheville organization.

“I am proud to be able to promote two outstanding members of our department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.

Mayor Bellamy had words of encouragement and praise for Martinez, Ward and the other officers of the Asheville Police Department. “Every day, you put on a badge and say ‘I’m going to go out and protect someone I don’t even know.’ I look forward to seeing you all do great things in this department.”

Leave a Comment November 21, 2013

Public/private partnership restores high-speed communication to Asheville’s emergency responders

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.

Leave a Comment September 20, 2013

Heroism, accomplishments by city employees, recognized by Mayor and City Council

Six city employees were recognized by Asheville City Council at its August 13 meeting. Council thanked for their hard work, drive for improvement, and, in one case, heroism.

Darlene Barnwell, who works in the city’s Customer Service Division, received a standing ovation for her heroic rescue of an 8-year-old boy who was being attacked by dogs in a neighbor’s yard. In May, Barnwell was drawn away from a cookout she was hosting to assist in a search for the boy. When she found him in a neighbor’s yard being attacked by the dogs, she climbed a barbed wire fence, managed to distract the dogs, then pick up the boy and carry him out of the yard.

“We’re so proud of you Darlene,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “And it touches our hearts that you would do that.”

Council also recognized Asheville Fire Department Battalion Chief Joy Ponder for completing the four-year National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. Last year, while going through the program, Ponder became the AFD’s first female Battalion Chief.

The City’s Purchasing Manager Amy Patterson was congratulated for earning the title of Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer through the North Carolina School of Government. The certification means that Patterson and the City’s Purchasing Division are recognized as providers of efficient, fair and transparent business practices.

Darryl Rice, Rob Martin and Kevin Haughinberry of the City’s Fleet Division were recognized for completing specialized training and certification to inspect low-emission CNG vehicles in the city’s fleet. Their training saves the city time and money when using the low-emission vehicles.

Click the screen above to see a video of Council’s City of Asheville Employee Recognition from August 13.

Leave a Comment August 14, 2013

2013 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day Ceremony

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.

Leave a Comment May 28, 2013

Three promoted in Asheville Police Dept.

Three Asheville Police Officers took on new roles at a Jan. 31 ceremony at Asheville City Hall, with two receiving promotions and another filling a major leadership role in the department.

Lts. Stony Gonce and Christopher Reece-Young were both promoted to the rank of Captain at the ceremony and sworn in by Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.

Reece-Young is a 23-year veteran of the APD and has experience in a wide variety of roles in his career, having served as a patrol officer, mounted patrol officer, field training officer, K-9 officer and as part of the emergency response team. As a lieutenant, he has served as the Drug Suppression Unit Commander, South Central District Commander and as the Patrol Special Services Commander.

Gonce joined the APD in 1998 and has served as the District Traffic Officer in West District, Patrol Sergeant, Traffic Safety Unit Supervisor, District Commander and Acting District Commander in Criminal Investigations.

Both officers were joined by their families for their swearing in before a room full of colleagues.

“I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my family,” Gonce said. “There isn’t a person in this room who hasn’t helped me all the way.”

Capt. Wade Wood was named Deputy Chief, having served as the APD’s Interim Chief in 2012 during the City of Asheville’s search for a new leader for the department. Chief William Anderson said Wood was an obvious pick for the role.

“There is no doubt in my mind I made the right choice” Anderson said. “I really appreciate Wade stepping up to the plate.”

Wood came to the APD from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department in 1992 and served as patrol officer and on the Community Together Team. During his career he has also served on the Administrative Division and Criminal Investigations Division.

Mayor Terry Bellamy wrapped up the ceremony by thanking the department and the officers in the room.

“You are all a wonderful force and we are a better city because of you all.” Bellamy said. “Thank you for the work that you do.”

Leave a Comment February 1, 2013

Asheville Fire Department recognizes promotions, new hires and achievements

For some, the ceremony held September 11 by the Asheville Fire Department was recognition of achievement and the effort they have given to the department and

Asheville Fire Department

The annual ceremony recognizes new hires to the AFD as well as promotions, special achievements and life saving efforts over the year.

community. For others it was the beginning of a new career and life as a firefighter. But for each person at the ceremony, the day was a reminder and celebration of the dedication it takes to be part of the AFD.

“Thank you so much. We are proud of what you have achieved,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy speaking to the firefighters and their friends and families gathered at the Sherrill Center on the UNC Asheville Campus. “You represent the best and the brightest.”

27 Asheville Firefighters were recognized for promotions or advancements at the Sept. 11 ceremony.

The Asheville Fire Department recognition program observed the advancement or promotion of 27 firefighters and the hiring of 26 new recruits. AFD Chief Scott Burnette said the department’s outreach efforts through programs like the department’s Explorer Post and In Real Life program not only brought in a large field of new applicants, but also allowed the department to increase the numbers of minority hires over the last year.

In the past year, 16 firefighters advanced to the role of Senior Firefighter, and four were advanced to Captain. Seven firefighters received promotions, including 14-year veteran Joy Ponder, who notably achieved the status of the AFD’s first female Battalion Chief.

Joy Ponder is the Asheville Fire Department's first female Battalion Chief.

Ponder was also the 2012 recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence award, that organization’s recognition of women who are role models in the community. The 2011 recipient of the TWIN award was AFD firefighter and Public Information Officer Kelley Klope.

“That honorees have been women in the Asheville Fire Department for two years in a row, we think is pretty significant,” said Burnette.

The AFD award ceremony is held in tandem with its annual remembrance of the September 11 attacks and the firefighters who gave their lives to save others, as well as a time to honor those from the Asheville Fire Department who lost their lives in the line of duty.

AFD Awards Ceremony 2012

“We honor the lives lost that day by continuing to improve and advance, never forgetting our mission to save lives and to minimize suffering,” Burnette said. “We are here today a stronger nation and a stronger fire service and we will always be grateful for those who gave their lives to save others.”

Below are the AFD firefighters who received promotions and advancements:

Brian Stanfield
Edan Douek
John Ellis
Thomas Lael
Mark Jameson
William Willis
Ross Parkinson
David House (Active Military Duty)
Chris Kovalchik
Matthew Pride
Nicholas Dematteis
Christopher Rice
Luke Miller
Carla Ball
Keagan Monteith
Dale Wyrick

Dana Trantham
Rafael Bango
Robert Keith
Dave Sauer

Bradley Duncan
Joey Hammond

Eric Johnson
Patrick Crudup


David Cutshall

Joy Ponder

New hires to the AFD are:

Josh Cram
Joshua Jenkins
Joseph Meleski
Kevin Proffitt
Eric Wardwell
Steven Parker
Scott Mirkin
Avery Gibbs
Amber Hartsburg
Patrick Worley
Adam Ross
Dan Young
Gregory Miller
Benjamin Lynch
Sean Garden
James Kodaras
Bradley Maselbas
Brandon King
Matthew Hooker
Wallace Sexton
Antwaiin Worden
Isaac Mccurry
Weston Hall
Peter Morton
Neil Spencer
Jacob Hannon

Leave a Comment September 20, 2012

Celebrating the newest link on the Reed Creek Greenway

A gathering of bicyclists, joggers, walkers and parents with strollers celebrated the opening of a new section of the Reed Creek Greenway on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event marked the latest addition to the City of Asheville’s growing greenway network.

City of Asheville Reed Creek GreenwayThe Reed Creek greenway runs parallel to Broadway Street, crossing Cauble Street, and the addition is a vital link in a continuing expansion that will give bordering neighborhoods greenway access to downtown Asheville.

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, Council member Chris Pelly, Greenway Commission member Sue Barlow and Olympic medalist Lauren Tamayo officially opened the connector.

“Thank you to the City and to everyone involved,” Tamayo said. “This is something Asheville can get behind and embrace.”

Reed Creek Greenway City of AshevilleFollowing the ribbon cutting, bicyclists including Tamayo and members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club rode the new stretch of greenway.

The newest addition to the Reed Creek Greenway includes a 10-foot-wide paved path, a bridge crossing over Reed Creek, and an emergency call box.

Click here for more information about the City of Asheville’s Greenways.

City of Asheville's Reed Creek Greenway

Leave a Comment September 11, 2012

Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day Ceremony 2012

Monday, May 28 saw the commemoration of Memorial Day in a ceremony held on Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park and presented by The City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and Buncombe County.

Memorial Day 2012The 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.

“We do it by remembering. We do it by honoring the sacrifice they made,” said the keynote ceremony’s speaker, retired Naval CEC Capt. Kenneth J. Vasilik. “I believe those who died in battle want us to remember them. And we do remember them.”

Memorial Day 2012Vasilik commemorated the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Asheville shortly after the invasion of Pearl Harbor and the 132 men who died in the attack.

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and Buncombe County Board Chair David Gantt laid the ceremonial wreath, a presentation that was followed by a moment of silence, a 21-gun salute by the Asheville Police Department Honor Guard, and a rendition of taps.

Asheville Police Chaplains Kent Withington and Wayne Roper gave the invocation and benediction, and Buncombe County Commissioner Bill Stanley led the Pledge of Allegiance and closing comments.

Memorial Day 2012 Memorial Day 2012

Click here to see more pictures from the 2012 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day observation.

Leave a Comment May 29, 2012

Memorial Day observation marks transfer of the WNC Veterans Memorial to City and County

The annual Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day ceremony held May 30 on Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park was a chance for residents and visitors to reflect upon and remember service men and women who had given their lives in the name of protecting the nation. This year, the event also marked a special milestone, as the WNC Veterans’ Memorial was officially transferred to the care of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County.

WNC Veterans MemorialThe memorial, adjacent to the Roger McGuire Green, is the result of a 13 year effort by the non-profit organization WNC Veterans Memorial, formed to raise money for its design and construction. The group worked closely and extensively with other organizations including the Pack Square Conservancy and the City of Asheville’s Public Art Board to make the memorial a reality.

The memorial was dedicated on Veterans’ Day, 2009, but its gifting to the city and county closed a chapter for the organization, said director and WWII veteran Tuck Gudger. Alongside money for design and construction, the organization also raised $140,000 for the care and maintenance of the memorial.

“We are so proud that the citizens of Asheville, Buncombe County and Western North Carolina donated not only the money for the memorial, but also the money to make sure it exists in perpetuity,” Gudger said. “And it gives us great pride to gift this memorial and the money for its perpetual care.”

Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day observationThe maintenance funds, held in two trusts, will be managed by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, represented at the observation by foundation president Elizabeth Brazas.

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair Bill Stanley were both present to accept the gifts.

“On behalf of the citizens of Asheville, thank you so very much to the men and women who made the commitment to make sure that we have this memorial in downtown Asheville for not only this generation, but future generations,” Bellamy said. “They wanted to make sure that people who visit, and more importantly, people who live in our community, understand the services that have been rendered and the lives that have been given to protect our country.”

Memorial Day wreathThe Memorial Day observation’s Master of Ceremonies was local radio personality and Gulf War veteran Matt Mittan. The keynote speaker was Staff Sergeant Josh O’Conner, who served two tours of duty, one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. O’Conner, alongside Bellamy and Stanley, placed the traditional wreath in remembrance of fallen veterans.

Click here to see more pictures from the 2011 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day observation.

Leave a Comment June 1, 2011

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