Filed under: City Departments
Bring your A-game! The Montford Recreation Center gymnasium, closed for renovations since August, has reopened and reintroduced programming to the newly unveiled facility. The improvements include a new maple wood sports flooring system as well as competition-level fiberglass backboards with breakaway goals, wall pads and bleachers.
New wallpads and bleachers make the facility top-notch for players and spectators.
The renovations were completed in early February, and athletic groups are once again playing sports like basketball, volleyball, badminton and table tennis at the center. The climbing wall is also back in use, with a new textured paint job that better simulates a rock surface.
“We are so excited to have this popular facility reopened and the renovations are fantastic,” said Center Director Kim Kennedy.
A new floor, new baskets and backboards and LED lighting are highlights of the Montford Center’s reopened gymnasium
The gymnasium also got a new paint job and new LED lighting. The LEDs save an estimated $6,500 a year in electric costs and have a positive impact on carbon reduction equal to planting 24 football fields of forests. Additionally, the LEDs operate on a dimmer and have immediate turn-on, turn off capability. That saves even more energy, as the previous lighting took time to warm up and had to be left on all day. The LED replacement resulted in a $9,000 rebate from Duke Energy Progress – funding that will go into more sustainable upgrades in parks facilities.
The Montford Recreation Center entrances will soon be replaced to improve accessibility and bathroom renovation designs are in the works, said Project Manager Pete Wall.
The City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department has plans to make improvements to other recreation centers as funding becomes available, including the Linwood Crump Shiloh Complex and the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center.
The Montford Recreation Center will officially recognize the renovations and re-opening with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 13 at 4:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and see the work that has been done.
The climbing wall got a new coat of textured paint that better simulates rock
For information about programs at the Montford Center, go to www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.
March 4, 2014
The demolition of the downtown city-owned vacant parking structure at 68 Haywood Street near the corner of Page Avenue is slated to begin the second week of March and be completed by the end of the month. Use of the parking structure, sometimes called the Handipark, was discontinued due to safety reasons in 2010.
Outside contractors could begin installing safety fences and barricades as soon as Feb. 28, and demolition is scheduled to begin March 11. Nearby businesses have been consulted and the city’s project manager says the demolition will take into consideration the sensitive location and populated area.
“This demolition is taking place in an area that has a high rate of foot and vehicle traffic, and is in close proximity to many neighboring buildings and businesses,” said project manager John Gavin. “We have taken measures to make sure that the structure is removed with minimal disturbance.”
No blasting will take place during the demolition, and seismic sensors were installed in mid-February to gather data on ground disturbance. Work will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Additionally, work will stop between March 6 and March 11 to allow for the SoCon Basketball tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center, which is expected to attract thousands of fans to that location. During the demolition process, the contractor will be responsible for security at the site.
On completion, the open area at that location will be stabilized with retaining walls and surrounded by a safety railing.
Questions or concerns from the community can be directed to John Gavin, Project Manager, (828) 232-4580.
For more information and updates about this project go to the Project Page at http://ow.ly/u4K1n.
February 27, 2014
In the video below, Ken Putnam, City of Asheville Transportation Department Director, discusses the upcoming traffic and pedestrian improvements to E. Chestnut Street in the Five Points Neighborhood Community.
You can find more information on the status of this project at the City of Asheville Projects Page.
February 26, 2014
Hey Asheville residents – Have you seen this sticker? Perhaps it arrived in the mail, or maybe you saw it on a neighbor’s blue recycle bin. Know what it means? If you are recycling correctly over the next six months, you could win a $50 worth of free groceries! How? The Recycle and Win program, a partnership between the City of Asheville and Coca-Cola, gives you a chance to be rewarded for your recycling efforts. Simply watch for the mailer, affix the included sticker onto your recycling cart, and recycle the acceptable materials. Our Prize Patrol will be randomly selecting 10 winners each week who, if recycling correctly, will win a $50 gift card to Ingles.
Since last week, the mailer has been going out to City of Asheville residents, so keep an eye out. If you think you may have overlooked your Recycle and Win sticker, you can pick one up at any Ingles store, but in order to participate, you must be a City of Asheville resident with residential recycling pickup.
Click here for the original Recycle and Win launch announcement.
Recycle and Win is another great way to be part of reducing landfill waste in Asheville. The City rolled out Big Blue – the 96 gallon curbside recycling cart – to residents in April of 2012. In the twelve months following, city residents recycled 25% more than the previous year, for a total of 7,600 tons of material recycled. That is more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower! Our collective recycling efforts in that year alone kept an additional 40 swimming pools worth of material out of the landfill. And that’s not all! Building on that momentum, Asheville City Council recently committed to a long-term waste reduction goal of 50% municipal solid waste reduction by the year 2035 (more on that soon!)
Between the ease of recycling in Big Blue and the chance to win a $50 gift card from Ingles each week for the next six months, we are excited for this partnership and residents’ efforts to bring us to the next level of carbon reduction. To learn more about what can and cannot be recycled in Asheville, and find out what day your recycling is picked up, click here.
February 20, 2014
Explorer Scouts participating in the Asheville Police Department’s Law Enforcement Explorer Post 57 took second place in the BSA’s annual Winterfest competition in Gatlinburg, TN, Feb. 7-9.
The Explorer Scouts participated in three competitions and won second place in the Vehicle Search Warrant Category. Approximately 3,000 Explorer Scouts take place in the event each year.
Explorer Post 57 is an arm of the Boy Scouts of America and was begun by the Asheville Police Department in 1991. The Asheville Police Department Explorer Scout post is open to young men and women ages 14-20 with an interest in law enforcement.
Law Enforcement Exploring provides educational training programs for young adults on the purpose, mission, and objectives of Law Enforcement. The program provides career orientation experiences, leadership opportunities, and community service activities. The primary goals of the program are to help young adults with an interest in a career path within law enforcement and to challenge them to become responsible citizens in their communities.
To find out more information about participating, contact Officer Keith McCulloch at 828-259-5834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 11, 2014
The City of Asheville is proud to announce that two of the organization’s top leadership have been recognized by professional associations as top practitioners in their field.
Asheville Fire Department Chief Scott Burnette was awarded Career Fire Chief of the Year by the North Carolina Fire Chiefs Association at a Feb. 8 ceremony. This is the highest honor the NCFCA can bestow upon a member and speaks to the outstanding professionalism of Chief Burnette as well as the esteem with which he is held by his peers.
Water Resources Director Steve Shoaf was chosen by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) as vice-president of the international organization, which advocates and educates for clean water across the North American Continent. Shoaf has served as North Carolina Section Director since 2012 and is one of only five people chosen for the position by the organization’s board of directors. He was elected to the post on January 19.
“We are extremely proud of Scott and Steve for these well-earned positions,” said Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson. “This kind of recognition at the state and national level speaks not only to the quality of their professionalism and leadership, but also to the level of service the City of Asheville provides.”
Burnette joined the AFD in 1995 and was appointed Fire Chief in 2009. Under his leadership, the department has achieved Accredited Department Status, a status achieved by less than two percent of departments worldwide. Burnette oversees a department of 256 uniformed firefighters.
Shoaf Joined the City of Asheville in 2009 after serving as Utilities Director for the City of Burlington for 21 years. He has been an AWWA member since 1990 and has served three terms on the North Carolina Section of the AWWA board.
February 10, 2014
Things are happening along the Swannanoa River. The river banks adjacent to Azalea Road and Gashes Creek road are undergoing a makeover that will not only ease one stream bank at the City of Asheville’s Recreation Park, but will also relocate a section of the Swannanoa to have less impact during high water events. Since December, heavy earth moving equipment has been visible making changes to the landscape in the area that will greatly improve multimodal park access and safety.
What is it?
Phase I of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road Improvements Project is an effort to better manage high water during flood events and create new and improved infrastructure for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists at one of the City of Asheville’s most popular park complexes.
This flood control project involves lowering a streamside multi-use field to the east of the GashesCreekBridge to give high waters a place to expand when the Swannanoa crests its banks. Another step will install breaks to slow the water down as is passes through RecreationPark. Both moves protect property and infrastructure downstream. The relocation of the stream just west of the GashesCreekBridge will straighten a curve in the river, lessening the impact it has on the steep bank below Swannanoa River Road near the intersection with Azalea Road. This will reduce stream bank erosion in that location and prevent undercutting of the roadway.
Why was this location chosen?
The SwannanoaRiver, flowing from BlackMountain to its confluence with the French BroadRiver in West Asheville, is one of Asheville’s major water corridors and can be greatly affected by heavy rain events. In past rain events, flooding on the SwannanoaRiver has affected BiltmoreVillage, Swannanoa River Road and surrounding businesses and residences.
Because of the surrounding park facilities, work can be conducted in the area with minimum disruption to businesses that line other parts of this section of the river.
The location is considered part on an ongoing flood remediation study by the Army Corps of Engineers, says the city’s Stormwater Services Manager McCray Coates.
An added benefit is the partnership with NCDOT to make improvements at the intersection of NC 81 and Azalea Road. NCDOT plans to install a traffic signal and turn lane along NC 81 which will benefit users ofthe WNCNatureCenter, RecreationPark and the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex.
How does the new infrastructure fit in?
“When we have large projects like the stream bank improvement plan, it makes sense to combine these efforts and go after some needed sidewalks, waterline and roadway improvements while you are in there,” Coates said. The City is also excited to be partnering with the NCDOT for the installation of a new traffic signal and turn lane at the intersection of NC 81 and Azalea Road.
Sidewalks, a bike path, road improvements and a one-way roadway facility down into the soccer complex will improve access to one of Asheville’s most popular park facilities. Additionally, the soccer complex will get a long-needed water line installed to serve the user of the facility.
Detail from the plans for Phase I of the Azalea Road/Lake Craig Project
How is it funded?
Phase I of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road Improvements project is financed by a mix of state and City of Asheville funds. The total project cost is $3.7 million dollars. The Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005 allocated funding for these types of projects, and covers $1,143,380 of the total project cost. The remainder is funded through the Sullivans Act funding in the amount of $2,748,002 and the city’s Water Resources Department ($371,127),
Phase I of the project is expected to be completed by December 2014. Leading up to the groundbreaking, project engineers and city staff held three community meetings to take input and inform the public about the impact of the construction and the benefits of the project’s completion. Special attention has been paid to coordinate and minimize the impact of construction during special events for the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex, the WNCNatureCenter and RecreationPark.
“We know this is an extremely popular area,” Coates said. “We don’t want this to interfere with any soccer tournaments or NatureCenter events. Summer is a big time around here.”
Asheville City Council approved Phase I of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road Improvement Project October 22, 2013.
February 5, 2014
From building code inspection to walkability. From to the RADTIP to emergency response, City of Asheville employees were recognized for excellence in service at Asheville City Council’s January 14 meeting.
City Manger Gary Jackson did the honors, thanking those who have exemplified professionalism, innovation and public service. But he began by highlighting two events that took place in January and required emergency response by several City of Asheville departments.
The first was the nearly 24-hour standoff on Max Street from Jan. 2-Jan 3 in which Asheville Police officers, assisted by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s office and the Henderson County Sherriff’s Office, resolved the situation peacefully and without injury to officers, the suspect or the public.
“The professionalism and ability displayed by these officers and our police department is commendable, and the community is safer because of their presence,” Jackson said.
Next, Jackson highlighted the Jan. 10 gas main explosion on Sand Hill Road in which the Asheville Fire Department responded to provide mutual assistance and the Asheville Police Department called in resources. After the fire was extinguished, the city’s Public Works Department and Water Resources Department worked overnight to restore and patch the roadway in order to have Sand Hill open by Sunday evening.
“I commend all of these departments, the Fire Department, the Water Department, Public Works and the Police Department who all responded and worked through the weekend to make that happen,” Jackson said.
There were more thanks and recognitions to go around, often for City of Asheville employees, teams and partnerships that worked behind the scenes to achieve goals important to the community or earn accolades for outstanding achievement.
Women’s Pipe Tapping Team
• The Water Resources Department Women’s Pipe Tapping Team was recognized for an outstanding women’s pipe tap time during the 93rd Annual North Carolina American Water Works Association Conference. The Women’s Pipe Tapping Team (The Copperheads) put up a time of 2 minutes 40 seconds. The National AWWA winning time for a Women’s team was just a mere 20 seconds off.
The Water Resources Department Women’s Pipe Tapping Team are:
Water Distribution Operator of the Year Award
Operators Meritorious Service Award
• In 2013, Timothy Burdine Jr. , an 11-year employee of the City’s Water Services Department, was awarded both the Water Distribution Operator of the Year Award from the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association’s Operators Meritorious Service Award.
Tim was recognized for these awards due to his recent work in implementing new advanced practices in leak detection and valve maintenance for the Water Maintenance Division. In addition, Tim’s has gone above and beyond to understand customer needs and assist however possible.
Asheville Silver Walk Friendly Community
• Asheville was recently named a Silver-level Walk Friendly Community by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center in Chapel Hill. Asheville is one of 44 Walk Friendly Communities in the nation, and the fourth city to be so designated in NC and the first in the state to achieve silver status.
Areas and activities that were noted as particularly impressive are the Asheville Police Department focus on targeted crash reduction, Asheville’s high-quality sidewalk design standards and ordinances that promote dense, mixed-use development, and the city’s avenues for gathering input and collaborating with residents, specifically the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force and Asheville’s neighborhood coordinator.
Employees recognized were:
Sgt Scott Pruett
Officer Jon Derrick
This achievement would not have been possible without the application team of Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force volunteers, and the cooperation of several city staff members who provided information for the application.
ISO Building Code Effectiveness Grading Classification 2
• The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule measures effectiveness of building safety programs. Scores range from 1 to 10 with low scores representing the highest quality (a score of 1 is considered “exemplary”.) An Insurance Services Office audit of the City’s program this summer resulted in scores of 2 for both the residential and commercial building safety programs.
These scores show a dedication to quality, professionalism and customer service on the part of our building safety employees.
ISO ratings also impact insurance scores statewide, and low scores like the one achieved by the City of Asheville result in lower insurance rates across North Carolina.
Employees recognized were:
Mark Case Joe Chennault
Abigail Riley Jay Eichhorn
Susannah Carver Alec Arthur
Alisha Carrol Eric Evans
Heather Rhinehart Steve Bothelo
Jamie Fortner Gary Sanders
Sheila Salyer Garrett Gates
Misty Lipe Jim Hayes
Amy Tesner Anne Graham
Diane Meek Chris Rossi
Kim Levi Jerry Reese
Ron Evans Gary Stamey
Scott Metcalf Mark Matheny
ACEC Excellence in Engineering – RADTIP Design Project
• The American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina (ACEC/NC)Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) is an annual competition that honors and recognizes engineering and surveying firms for projects which demonstrate the highest degree of achievement, value and ingenuity.
On November 7, 2013, the engineering firm of CDM Smith and the City of Asheville received an Honors Award for the preliminary design of the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project, or RADTIP. The RADTIP will upgrade the roadway, add greenways, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and other amenities adjacent to a 2.2-mile section of the French Broad River in the River Arts District.
Employees recognized were:
ACEC Excellence in Engineering – Cherokee Retaining Wall
• Originally built in 1899, Asheville’s historic Cherokee Road retaining wall is an integral gateway component to the Albemarle Park Historic District. Over time the wall suffered damage due to subsurface water, erosion, and increased demands from vehicular traffic. The purpose of the project was to reconstruct the wall to maintain its historic appearance and character, while upgrading the roadway and underground infrastructure, all while encouraging a high level of community involvement. On November 7, 2013, the project won the North Carolina Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies Grand Award for Small Projects for engineering excellence. This project was identified and approved for the FY 2012 Capital Improvement Program by City Council. The Public Works Department’s Streets & Engineering Division staff worked diligently with a local engineering firm Baker Engineering to design, and construct this project. The following City staff each played key roles in making this project happen.
Employees recognized were:
January 23, 2014
The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department announces the next step for a public art project for 51 Biltmore.Click here to see more on this project, including examples of the finalists’ work.
CITY OF ASHEVILLE SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON PUBLIC ART: 51 Biltmore Public Art Project
The parking deck wall at 51 Biltmore awaits its new look.
Asheville, NC – The City of Asheville announces the top artist finalists for the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project to be installed on the exterior wall of the pubic parking garage next to the Aloft Hotel at 51 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. The Public Art and Cultural Commission (PACC) will host a public forum with the artists on Friday, January 24, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church located at 60 Church Street. Parking is located on the south side of the church and across the street. Enter the church at the Church Street entrance to Tuton Hall.
The following are the top artist finalists:
Artist team Alex Irvine (Santa Fe, NM) and Ian Wilkinson (Asheville, NC)
Marc Archambault (Asheville, NC)
Mike Allison (Joelton, TN)
At the public forum, the artists will be in attendance and seeking ideas, images and stories to inspire their design proposals for the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project. To learn more about each artist and to make comment, go to the City of Asheville’s website at www.ashevillenc.gov and select City Projects to see project under Central Business District. The final design proposals are expected to be revealed in April, followed by a second round of public feedback to assist the Selection Panel in choosing the final design for the public art project.
The City of Asheville recently conducted a call for artists to create a permanent public art feature for the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project. After reviewing over 150 artist applications, the Selection Panel selected the top artist finalists.
The 51 Biltmore Public Art Project Selection Panel:
David McCartney, Aloft Hotel
Sharon Trammel, Public Art and Cultural Commission
Jenny Bowen, Asheville Artist and Photographer
Elizabeth Barr, Asheville Artist Resource Center
Susie Millions, Asheville Visual Artist
Sarah Larson, 51 Biltmore Neighborhood Resident and Art Advocate
The City of Asheville Public Art Program oversees Asheville’s public art collection. The Public Art and Cultural Commission is responsible for approving the site and content of public art, and the development of an inclusive selection process that involves community feedback. Members also act as public art ambassadors by advancing the City of Asheville as an “arts destination” in cultural and economic development efforts.
The city’s public art collection includes the popular Urban Trail, a historic walking tour of downtown Asheville; along with other prominent works in the downtown area including but not limited to the Pack Fountain, Energy Loop, Deco Gecko and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The 51 Biltmore Public Art Project is part of the City’s Percent for Art Program.
For information about the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project, contact Basil Punsalan at 828-259-5552 or email@example.com.
January 15, 2014
This is the latest in a series of profiles highlighting the City of Asheville’s vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. The City of Asheville maintains a list of neighborhoods who have registered as official organizations. Each month we will invite one of these to tell you in their own words a little more about the place they call home. If you are not sure if your neighborhood is on our listing, please contact Neighborhood Coordinator Marsha Stickford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shiloh Community Association, Inc
Established October 3, 2000
Location: Shiloh Community is located in South Asheville and is loosely bordered by Hendersonville Road to the west and Sweeten Creek Road to east and north.
What qualities make your neighborhood unique?
Our Motto is “Building on the Legacy, Embracing the Future”
Shiloh is a historically Afro-American intact community established in the 1880’s. Many of the residents are related and their ancestors came from (old) Shiloh which was originally located on the present Biltmore Estate. Most of the homes are single dwellings with front porches. There are four churches in Shiloh. In the early years many people walked to their destinations which included downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village, Biltmore Forest, and Biltmore Estate to work. Shiloh was a thriving village community raising their families with economic stability and resources. This was done with child daycares, elder care homes, grocery stores, a dry-cleaners, auto mechanics, seamstress’s , caters, mid-wives, and lawn care providers.
Who are the people that make up your neighborhood?
For many years the population of Shiloh was mostly Afro-American. Today Shiloh is more diverse with low income to middleclass working residents. There are generations of families still living in Shiloh since the 1880’s. We have people who are teachers, domestic workers, chiefs, judges, lawyers, ministers, and other professional and nonprofessional workers.
What is some of your neighborhood history?
Shiloh (a biblical name generally denoting the Messiah, or the Peaceful One) is the last intact Afro-American community in Asheville, established before 1870 and originally located where the Biltmore Estate is today. In the 1880’s Shiloh was moved to the present location. In 1927, a new, six-room elementary school was erected on a 5-acre site on Shiloh Road next to Shiloh Church. The school was built with public money and a large contribution from the Rosenwald Fund, founded by Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck & Company. The Shiloh AME Zion Church was established in old Shiloh (on the Biltmore Estate). Mr. George Vanderbilt bought the land in the late 1880’s and moved the community, the church, and the church cemetery to the current location. We have seen many changes with the increase of commercial businesses, roadway encroachments, and rezoning and development. The Shiloh Community League (1940’s-1970’s) land located at 59 Hampton St. was donated to the Shiloh Community Association in 2005 for the Community Garden.
What role does your neighborhood play as part of Asheville’s community?
Shiloh is becoming a healthier community through improved housing, health education, exercise, organic gardening, and shared intergenerational activities. Our community role is to work with other neighborhoods to ensure that all are safe, thriving, and effectively meeting the needs of its citizens. We aim to be active in city government through collaboration with our governing bodies and surrounding resources.
What are some of the things you look forward to in the future of your neighborhood?
Continue to progressively implement our 2025 Plan (adopted by City Council September 14, 2010) by completing the Shiloh Community garden amphitheater in partnership with Tupelo Honey Café, develop planned sidewalks, increase street lighting, create more livable wage jobs for residents, reestablish community watch. Continue our partnerships with City of Asheville Parks and Recreation, Police Department, Planning Department, Transit Department and Buncombe County Health Department. Other partnerships include: Neighborhood Housing Service of Asheville, Design Corp. of Raleigh, Bountiful Cities, Center for Participatory Change, Lightshare, The Conservation Fund, Western North Carolinas Communities, Warren Wilson College, UNC-Asheville, WNC WebWorx, YUSA, YMCA, ABIPA, Asheville area Habitat for Humanity, and Anonymous Donors.
Name something that you would like to see to make your neighborhood better?
The Shiloh Community Association would like to see and is in great need of acquiring a Resource Center to better transact community business. A bathroom in needed at the community garden site. The Association needs self sufficient sustainable funding and would like to see increased resident participation in the Shiloh Community Association.
Click here to see all of the neighborhoods profiled so far.
December 4, 2013