Filed under: City Departments

A send off for APD Capt. Tim Splain

Friends, colleagues and representatives from law enforcement agencies and community groups gathered on Friday August 29 to recognize Captain Tim Splain on the day of his retirement from the Asheville Police Department.

“I am very thankful for Tim’s service to the City and to the community,” said Deputy Chief Wade Wood. “It’s been a great career. Tim’s worked with a lot of agencies and done so in an outstanding manner.”

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Capt. Chris Reece-Young (left) presents Capt. Tim Splain with his badge.

Over the years, Splain has been involved in community initiatives such as Weed and Seed and Changing Together, and has worked side by side with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville, the FBI and the DEA, all of whom had representatives who spoke positively of Splain’s impact locally.

Splain joined the APD in 1991 after working at the Pentagon in Naval Intelligence Command. At that time, he remembers, Asheville’s downtown was still in the early stages of revitalization, and APD patols worked closely with residents and business owners to make the area safer.

“It was enjoyable as a Patrol Sergeant to be part of how that developed. You got to see the influence of your work.” Splain says. “That’s the most sustaining part of this job, to have people thank you for things you did years before.”

Leave a Comment September 2, 2014

Haywood Road to be restriped in time for Craven Street closure

A stretch of Haywood Road leading from the French Broad River into West Asheville will get a new look beginning Thursday August 21, as crews relocate the center yellow line and add a climbing bicycle lane.

haywoodrdThe work is being conducted ahead of the August 28 closing of Craven Street between Haywood Road and Waynesville Avenue, part of the Craven Street Improvement Project.

Because of the relocation of the center line, the downhill lane from West Asheville will become a shared lane for both bicycles and vehicles. “Sharrow” markings will be installed as well to indicate that bicycles should ride the lane and vehicles should share the roadway.

“We recognize that Haywood Road and Craven Street are commuter routes for bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles alike,” said Senior Project Engineer John Gavin.“With Craven Street closed over the next six weeks, we wanted to make sure that everyone has a safe route as more traffic moves onto Haywood Road.”

During this portion of the Craven Street closure, commuters can also access Waynesville Avenue via the bridge from Riverside Drive to Craven Street.

The restriping and signage is anticipated to be complete by the end of Friday, Aug. 22.

Increased bicycle access is part of the Haywood Road Multimodal Project, and more enhancements will take place in the spring of 2015, after the completion of the Craven Street improvement project.

Leave a Comment August 20, 2014

APD Chief Anderson speaks to community concerns arising from events in Ferguson, MO

Events in Ferguson, Missouri, have sparked a national conversation about police procedures, equipment and response to citizens demonstrating in the face of tragedy.
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Given these concerns, it is understandable that many may be wondering about the Asheville Police Department’s responsive procedures. Asheville is a city of many opinions, and we at APD are proud of our track record of responding to demonstrations and those who exercise their right of free speech. We take constitutional rights and public safety seriously and approach our response to demonstrations and other events with professionalism and respect. I share this because I want everyone to know that we have a police department worthy of your confidence.

By examining and putting into practice policies that address our officers’ procedures during such events, the Asheville community has over the past decade been an open and safe place for free speech and expression for demonstrators and onlookers alike. Each of our officers is trained in crowd management strategies that allow for the free expression of ideas and protect the safety of the public. These strategies have been evident during the course of several high-profile events, including Moral Monday rallies, open-carry demonstrations and the Occupy Asheville event.

Most recently, concern across the nation has turned to the use of military-style equipment in police departments. Our use of specialized tactical equipment is reserved for operations that require the deployment of highly-trained and likewise specialized Emergency Response Team (ERT) members, as in the two-day standoff on Max Street in January of this year. I emphasize the word “specialized” because these officers only deploy this kind of equipment when there is a direct and real threat to the safety of the public. Deployment of our ERT requires the approval of our supervisors. In the Max Street case, the use of an armored vehicle kept our officers safe as they negotiated the delicate situation at hand and their efforts achieved a successful outcome with no injuries.

APD officers consider ourselves part of the larger community we serve and protect by actively seeking out connections, making sure that we are visible and well known in both the neighborhoods and business districts of Asheville. This outreach means that citizens and officers talk, get to know one another, and assist each other in keeping our city safe.

I believe the concerns of the public are the concerns of the APD, and these conversations are important for us to have in order to grow and remain strong as a community. Just recently, both Sheriff Duncan and I participated in a Use of Force forum, hosted by the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council. It is my hope that while we have these conversations, we will look to each other for support.

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the recent events.

- Asheville Police Chief William Anderson

3 Comments August 18, 2014

Sunday bus service among big changes coming to the ART

bus_7Beginning January 1, 2015, Asheville Redefines Transit will begin offering service on Sundays and improved service to the Emma and Oakley sections of Asheville.

“Sunday service is at the top of our list for enhancements to the system, and was included as a high priority in the Transit Master Plan,” said Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “This will provide riders more options to get to their workplace and to make needed trips on Sunday.”

Sunday service earned the highest scores in a 2008 Rider Survey and in a follow up survey conducted in 2013. The addition of Sunday service means that ART will operate every day of the year except Christmas, Thanksgiving Day and Easter.

Asheville City Council approved funding for the change in the 2014/2015 budget and the step meets the city’s goals of constant improvement and excellent service as well as Council’s Strategic Goal of supporting multimodal transportation.

“The City’s commitment to increased service will make a major impact on the daily lives of thousands of people,” said Adam Charnack, Vice-Chair of Asheville’s Transit Committee. “Investments like these attract even more riders and we look forward to building on this momentum.”

As part of the implementation of these changes, the City of Asheville will host a public meeting to receive comments and feedback on Wednesday, August 20 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. in the 4th Floor Training Room of the Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza. The meeting will be a drop-in format to take public comment on the most effective times and routes for these improvements.

The meeting will also address changes in response to rider requests that the ART operate direct routes from downtown to the Oakley and Emma areas.

The public can weigh in on changes to the ART system at this online survey or submit comments by August 25, 2014, to iride@ashevillenc.gov or mail to Mariate Echeverry, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Asheville, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville NC 28802.

Paper surveys are also being distributed and collected at the ART Station and in the Emma community to gather as much feedback as possible.

Since the Transit Master Plan launch in 2008, enhancements outlined in that plan have been implemented as funding is secured. Service enhancements that have been implemented include new branding, increased frequency on major corridors, holiday service, increased service on Tunnel Road, 10 new shelters, route schedule improvements and the launch of the NextBus arrival notification system.

For more information about Asheville Transit call (828) 253-5691, e-mail iride@ashevillenc.gov or visit www.ridetheart.com.

Leave a Comment August 14, 2014

Asheville Fire stations take up Energy Challenge

helmet-idea-bulbThis spring, the City of Asheville Fire Department took up a nation-wide challenge to see which of its three battalions, throughout the department’s 12 stations, could make the biggest reduction in energy use over a three-month period. With the results tallied in June, the winner is Battalion 2 with a total energy reduction of 12% over last year’s numbers at Stations 2, 3, 6 and 10. But the big winner was the department as a whole and the City of Asheville, as the friendly competition offset 24 tons of greenhouse gasses and saved the AFD $2000 in energy costs.

The Chief’s Energy Challenge is a nationwide effort issued by the fire departments of Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh inviting fire departments to reduce their energy use by 10% in one year, and 20% by year three.

“The results produced by these battalions is a testimony to the innovative and cost effective ways we can reduce our environmental impact and still maintain a high level of service to the safety of the public,” said AFD Chief Scott Burnette.

The AFD’s participation was a collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, and during the challenge, the Sustainability team worked directly with the department to find ways to cut energy use and costs. Many of those, says Energy Analyst Kerby Smithson, can be used going forward in an effort to beat the one-year 10% goal.

“From LED lights to low-flow shower heads, the steps these firefighters took and the ideas they had were practical and resourceful,” Smithson said. “And it’s really a testament to how we all can affect change by making small changes in our habits, like turning off lights and appliances.”

“We’re happy to be able to move forward with these steps,” said Lt. Angie Bell at Station 10. “It is an eye opener to see how these things add up to a real impact in savings.”

The results of the Chief’s Energy Challenge were recorded by the Office of Sustainability and reported to the Chief’s Energy Challenge North Carolina organizers.

Leave a Comment August 6, 2014

Dashboard tracks and reports graffiti cleanup progress

Follow along with 123 Graffiti Free! A new online dashboard tracks the City of Asheville’s progress on the 123 Graffiti Freeblogdash cleanup assistance initiative. The dashboard, produced in collaboration between the city’s Public Works and IT Services Departments, displays the number of graffiti cleanup requests, the number of cases completed and the amount of money the City of Asheville has spent so far.

Through September 30, the city is offering property owners $500 in graffiti cleanup assistance as part of the 123 Graffiti Free cleanup initiative, and Asheville City Council has allocated $300,000 toward the cleanup effort. As of August 5, there were with 62 cleanup requests completed and in all cases of private property requests, the city’s $500 investment has covered the entire cost of removal or repainting with no money required from property owners.

Graffiti harms communities, and removing graffiti from property within 48 hours has been shown to be a deterrent to vandals. Report graffiti on public property or request cleanup assistance on private property with the Asheville App, email 123graffitifree@ashevillenc.gov, or call (828) 259-5960.

Leave a Comment August 5, 2014

A good night to get to know your neighbors: National Night Out Crime Prevention Kick-Off Rally Aug. 5

The Asheville Police and Fire Departments and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, with the sponsorship support of Target, Inc., will host a local National Night Out (NNO) kick-off event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5.

NNO social media

NNO is a nationwide, annual crime prevention and community policing event. NNO events are designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community-law enforcement collaboration by promoting crime prevention.

The local kick off will be held at Carrier Park on Amboy Road in West Asheville.

Neighborhoods are invited to participate in the family oriented kick off celebration, which will feature food, a raffle of prizes provided by Target including 20 inch bikes (two for girls and two for boys), backyard games with law enforcement officers and public safety vehicles. KISS FM/99.9 and LEAF and the Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab will be at the event to provide entertainment for kids and adults. Public safety officers will be available to offer tips and facts about crime prevention.

After the kick off, neighbors are encouraged to return home to hold community oriented events in their neighborhood. Local law enforcement officers are available year-round to help neighborhoods develop strategies to build community and neighborhood solidarity against crime.

This year’s sponsorship is part of the ongoing support that Target, Inc. provides to local law enforcement agencies and community groups throughout the country.

Click below for video about National Night Out.

For more information about local National Night Out activities and ongoing crime prevention strategies, contact Natalie Bailey, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, at Natalie.Bailey@buncombecounty.org or 250-4469 or Keith McCulloch, City of Asheville Crime Prevention Officer at kmcculloch@ashevillenc.gov or 259-5834.

In the event of bad weather, please check the Recreation Weather Hotline to see if the event will take place as scheduled. The Weather Hotline number is 251-4082.

For more information about the national initiative, visit http://www.nationalnightout.org/nno/.

Leave a Comment July 31, 2014

Public Works Association recognizes City of Asheville employees

Two Public Works employees and one retired Finance Department employee were recognized by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s North Carolina chapter for outstanding service and the pursuit of excellence at Asheville City Council’s July 22 meeting.

KathiPublic Works Administrative Assistant Kathi Willis was recognized with the Association’s President’s Award for her dedication to the Association and “her continuing efforts and work with the North Carolina Chapter Executive Board.” This is the second time Willis’ efforts have been recognized with this award, having won it previously in 2010. Chapter President Russell Byrd cited her character, organizational skills, her willingness to go beyond what is expected and her incredible ability to keep the chapter “on-task and in-line.”

Willis has worked at the City of Asheville since 1991 and took over the role of the APWA-NC Chapter secretary in 2008.

“Kathi Willis is a true professional in every sense of the word,” Byrd told Council. “Without Kathi’s invaluable contributions our chapter would not and could not be one of the finest in the association.”

LeeThe Association also recognized Construction Inspector Lee Morrison with the Association’s Municipal Employee Scholarship. Morrison works with the Capital Projects Management (Engineering) Division and has been with the City of Asheville since 2006. He has been attending classes to advance his knowledge of service and excellence and is nearing completion of coursework to earn the designation of NC Road Scholar, a program offered through the Institute of Transportation, Research and Education. In addition to his studies and workload, he is also a lieutenant at a local volunteer fire department and an Eagle Scout.

Lyle Willis, retired from the position of Contract Administrator in Purchasing Division of the city’s Finance Department, was awarded the Jean Seals Service Award, given in recognition for contributions by non-members for their support of the Association. Mr. Willis, husband of Kathi Willis, was cited for his attendance at APWA-NC events and his support of Kathi in her role. He worked at the city of Asheville for 23 years before his retirement in 2013.

All three were presented their awards at the 57th annual Conference of the American Public Works Association, North Carolina Chapter in June.

Lyle

Click below to see the presentation to Asheville City Council.

Leave a Comment July 25, 2014

Craven Street improvement project begins July 21

On Monday, July 21, work will begin on the Craven Street improvement project in west Asheville, a long-term enhancement that will include multi-modal roadway improvements including pedestrian and bike facilities, stormwater Best Management Practices and stream restoration, low impact parking and greenway construction and water line improvements. See background on this project at the City of Asheville Project Page. Craven2

The duration of the project will last from July 21, 2014 through December of 2015. The majority of the roadway work will take place during the next 6 months. As this is an active construction project, there will be heavy construction equipment in the area for the duration of the project.

During the remainder of July and the beginning of August, work will focus on clearing and grubbing activities, placement of the stormwater conveyance systems and other utilities, and existing asphalt removal. The project also involves a comprehensive improvement to the unnamed creek that starts along Waynesville Avenue and drains through the New Belgium Brewery site into the French Broad River.

Full road closures are not expected during this initial phase of the project, though delays and lane closures can be anticipated. Travelers are advised to use alternate routes where possible.

Beginning August 25, work will expand into roadway culvert improvements with Craven Street closed in the direction Haywood Road for the duration of work, which is expected to last until the end of September.

The Craven Street improvement project is located in the area surrounding the New Belgium Brewery construction site and is the City of Asheville’s portion in a public-private partnership with The State of North Carolina, North Carolina Golden Leaf Foundation, NCDOT, Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Buncombe County, the Economic Development Administration, and the Asheville–Buncombe Economic Development Coalition and others in support of New Belgium Brewing’s investment of $175 million in our community.

Leave a Comment July 18, 2014

City launches 123 Graffiti Free cleanup assistance program

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It’s sign up time! July 1 marks the beginning of the City of Asheville’s 90-day graffiti removal assistance program, and property owners are now encouraged to call, email or use the Asheville App to sign up for up to $500 in removal assistance.

The cleanup assistance program runs through September 30, with a goal of removing as much graffiti from Asheville as possible in that time.
Here’s how property owners can report graffiti and sign up for removal assistance:

Use the Asheville App (ashevillenc.gov/ashevilleapp), email 123graffitifree@ashevillenc.gov, or call (828) 259-5960.

City staff will visit the site and estimate the cost of removal

The property owner signs a waiver and agrees to pay all costs over the City’s $500 investment ($500 per building per incident)

The City contacts a pre-qualified contractor to remove graffiti, who will aim to remove graffiti within 48 hours

The City pays the contractor and bills the property owner for any amount over $500

After September 30, property owners will be responsible for removing graffiti from their property within seven days. At the request of property owners, the city will coordinate cleanup with a pre-qualified contractor, but the property owner will be responsible for the entire cleanup cost. That’s why getting on the list for the 90-day removal assistance program is such a great opportunity for property owners!

“We know that quick removal is one of the best deterrents to vandalism,” said Cathy Ball, the city’s Executive Director of Planning and Multimodal Transportation. “That’s why the goal of the 90-day assistance program is to remove graffiti throughout the city and get us back to a baseline. Working together as a community, we can make a real impact on graffiti vandalism.”

This is the second step of the 123 Graffiti Free initiative directed at a comprehensive approach to tackling graffiti. The first step took place in April, when Asheville City Council passed new civil fines for offenders.

Graffiti hurts the community, businesses and business growth. It reduces property values and can lead to increased crime activity. Report graffiti vandalism in progress by calling 911. To report graffiti vandalism on city-owned property, call (828) 252-1110 or use the Asheville App. To report tagging in Buncombe County, call (828) 250-6670.
Find more information about Asheville’s 123 Graffiti Free Initiative on the Projects Page.

Leave a Comment July 11, 2014

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