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Oct. 25 Symposium draws community into mobility planning

Everyone needs to get around. That’s the simple idea behind Asheville In Motion, an evolving and exciting community-based initiative designed to increase access to all forms of transportation.

AIMOn October 25, the public is encouraged to participate in a symposium on Asheville’s transportation future. The event will feature a panel discussion, community exercises and opportunities to let the community know your biggest priorities for mobility in Asheville.

Input and information will become part of the city’s AIM mobility plan, which will meet Asheville’s growth and transportation needs by changing how we think about getting around.

“In the past, we have thought of sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure and streets as being in different silos,” says Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “The best way to build a mobility network that gives attention to all forms of transportation is to examine them in a holistic, interconnected way.”

Better mobility means easier access to jobs, better neighborhood connectivity, a boost to business, and a safe, healthy, sustainable transportation system. Help Asheville take AIM at the future of mobility by attending this exciting event.

The Asheville In Motion symposium will take place Saturday, October 25 in the U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Find more information about Asheville In Motion here.

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Leave a Comment October 9, 2014

Neighborhood Advisory Committee to hold West Asheville neighborhood meeting

shutterstock_56618785 copyThe Neighborhood Advisory Committee of the City of Asheville invites residents and business and property owners of West Asheville to a neighborhood meeting Monday, September 22, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the West Asheville Library, 942 Haywood Road.

Please join us for this opportunity to express your ideas for improving your neighborhood and to hear about city projects and services in West Asheville. The meeting will provide a public forum for representatives from neighborhood associations and groups to share information about their neighborhood and the work of their groups.

In addition, Cathy Ball, Executive Director of Planning and Multi-modal Transportation, will give an update on the study on short term rentals. Ken Putnam, Director of Transportation, will share information on transportation related projects, including plans for a Haywood Road parking study. Greg Shuler, Public Works Director, will present information on ongoing Public Works projects. Police Department representatives for the West Asheville District will give updates on police related topics and Jayden Gurney, the Chair of the Citizen-Police Advisory Committee, will share information on the work of that group. Fire Department Chiefs Wayne Hamilton and Barry Hendren will give updates on fire and emergency services for West Asheville.

The Neighborhood Advisory Committee’s mission is to foster effective communication between and among Asheville’s neighborhoods and with the City of Asheville.

Click here to learn more about the Neighborhood Advisory Committee of the City of Asheville.

For more information about the Neighborhood Advisory Committee or the September 22 meeting, contact the West Asheville representative Elaine Poovey at jepoovey@hotmail.com or 253-3514

Leave a Comment September 11, 2014

Join in on online graffiti Q&A session Friday June 27

123-graffiti-freeJuly 1 marks the start of the 123 Graffiti Free cleanup initiative, and in anticipation of the date, the City of Asheville will host a Question and Answer session on Facebook this Friday, June 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Cathy Ball, the city’s Executive Director of Planning and Multimodal Transportation, will be on hand to answer questions related to the city’s new graffiti policy and to the coming 90-day cleanup assistance program. The online conversation will also address what happens next as we transition as a community into a graffiti-free city.

“We know that residents and business owners alike have questions about how this program works, and a lot of those questions show up in online conversations,” Ball said. “So this seems like a perfect opportunity to get clear information out there.”

See the city’s updated graffiti policy and 123 Graffiti Free campaign announcements here.

The time of the Q&A was picked in hopes that as many businesses and residents as possible could participate, and to steer clear of the lunch and dinner rushes experienced by Asheville’s many restaurateurs, so join in the conversation this Friday at facebook.com/cityofasheville between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Look for the Q&A post, and post your questions in the comments section.

Leave a Comment June 23, 2014

City crews prep streets ahead of paving project

Public Works crews are patching, milling and repairing road surfaces around Asheville ahead of a coming repaving project that will address streets throughout the city.

patchpicIn May, Asheville City Council approved a $1.12 million contract to repave 5.44 miles of city streets, the majority of which are residential neighborhood roads. The repaving will take place this summer and fall, but city crews are currently patching holes and milling surfaces so those streets can be ready when the contractor begins paving.

“We’re trying to get out ahead of them and get the things done that we can,” said Streets Operations Manager Jerry Yates. Taking care of the work in-house also saves the city money in the long run.

Crews will be patching surfaces on Ambler Road and Vermont Avenue and milling the surface of Fairway Drive and Brookwood Court. Additionally, concrete crews are pouring new sidewalks on Hilliard Avenue and Stormwater Services is tackling drainage improvements ahead of the paving schedule.

The repaving project is funded through a portion of the three-cent increase to the property tax rate approved by Asheville City Council during the 2013/2014 budget process. One cent of that increase is dedicated exclusively to infrastructure maintenance. Work is anticipated to take place throughout the summer and fall.

The list of streets being repaved during this project can be found below:

Stratford Rd from Windsor Rd to Elmwood Pl
Vermont Ave from Haywood Rd to Davenport Rd
Fairway Dr from Governor’s View to Swannanoa River Rd
Ambler Rd from Gladstone Rd to Governor’s View Rd
Shiloh Rd from Hendersonville Rd to Caribou Rd
Brookwood Ct from Brookwood Rd to end
Cherokee Rd from Mayflower Rd to Bluebriar Rd
Church St from Patton Ave to Hilliard Ave
Swift St from Dover St to Culvern St
Hilliard Ave from Biltmore Ave to Clingman Ave
Sunset Dr from Baird St to new pavement

Leave a Comment June 5, 2014

Dive into the City of Asheville budget with new online collaborative tool

The City of Asheville’s proposed budget is more accessible than ever thanks to a new tool developed in collaboration between the city and the volunteer group Code for Asheville.

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The tool, available at www.avlbudget.org offers an illustrated breakdown of how the city’s revenues and expenditures fit together and gives the public a picture of where the money goes.

“The city’s budget process is probably the most intricate and involved decision City Council makes, and this tool offers the public a chance to see how it all works,” said Dawa Hitch, the city’s Director of Communication & Public Engagement. “We are so appreciative of the efforts of Code for Asheville in making this happen.”

The success of the budget tool rose out of a Code Across Asheville meeting in February in which the volunteer group of local developers, designers and self-described “data geeks,” expressed enthusiasm for finding opportunities to utilize City of Asheville open data to increase the public’s access to information.

Code for Asheville worked closely with an interdepartmental city government team that provided information on typical resident inquiries and the data necessary to develop the tool.

“Publicly available data is a fantastic resource, and groups like Code for Asheville show what can happen when the community jumps in and provides solutions to presenting that data,” said Scott Barnwell, the city’s Business & Public Technology Manager. “Those folks deserve a lot of credit for making this a reality.”

Asheville City Council will hold a public hearing on the 2014/2015 budget at its June 10 meeting, with a final vote on June 24.

Find out more about Code for Asheville at CodeforAsheville.org.

Leave a Comment June 3, 2014

Capt. Bowen’s named added to Buncombe County memorial

BowenAsheville Fire Department Captain Jeff Bowen, who died in the line of duty during a 2011 fire, was honored Saturday, June 2 in a ceremony at the Buncombe County Courthouse.

Capt. Bowen’s name was added to a memorial stone located outside the courthouse dedicated to emergency personnel who have lost their lives in the service of protecting others.

AFD Deputy Chief Michael Knisely and Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore spoke at the ceremony, which was attended by family, friends, fellow firefighters and other emergency responders.

Capt. Bowen’s name is the 19th to be added to the memorial. See pictures from the dedication below.

Click here for more on Capt. Bowen and tributes to his sacrifice.

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Leave a Comment June 2, 2014

USS Asheville Commander and Officers visit City Hall exhibit

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From left to right: Lieutenant Aaron O’Hern, Commander Doug Bradley, Ken Vasilik, Petty Officer Anh Tinh, Petty Officer David Christensen

The Commander and several officers of the USS Asheville visited an exhibit at Asheville City Hall dedicated to the naval vessels that have borne that name throughout history.

Commander Doug Bradley, alongside Petty Officer Anh Tinh, Lieutenant Aaron O’Hern and Petty Officer David Christensen visited the exhibit located in the lobby of City Hall on Tuesday. Commander Bradley was the keynote speaker for Monday’s Memorial Day service held in Pack Square Park. The visit was organized by Ken Vasilik from the Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs. Vasilik is a retired Naval CEC Captain.

Four ships have had the name USS Asheville since 1920, the most recent being a Los Angeles-class submarine. The Walter F. Ashe USS Asheville exhibit at Asheville City Hall pays tribute to all of these vessels and displays a collection of photos, uniforms, pennants and other artifacts as well as models of the ships.

Leave a Comment May 27, 2014

City Announces Youth Leadership Academy’s Class of 2015

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The City of Asheville is proud to announce the incoming class of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA). CAYLA, created in 2007, places Asheville High School students in prestigious summer internships and offers ongoing leadership development throughout the academic year. The vast majority of CAYLA students will be the first in their families to attend college. The program is supported in part by Buncombe County.

CAYLA students are chosen from eligible applicants at Asheville High School by a committee of community leaders. Each student is required to submit an essay application and two teacher recommendations to the committee, and attend an in-person interview. After attending an orientation in June, students will begin 8-week internships at the both City and County Departments, as well as with a number of participating nonprofits and businesses including Moog Music, AVL Technologies, the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, Sisters of Mercy, MAHEC, JB Media and Habitat for Humanity.

“CAYLA provides talented students with the opportunity to experience a professional environment while still in high school,” said Erika Germer, CAYLA coordinator. “I encourage Asheville businesses to consider hosting a CAYLA student next year or sponsoring a placement at a local nonprofit. Through public-private partnerships, CAYLA can promote economic self-sufficiency and strengthen our community as a whole.”

CAYLA students earn $8.00 an hour. Each student will also receive a $2,000 scholarship at the completion of the program to support their goal of attending college.

In addition to the summer internships, the CAYLA program places a significant emphasis on community service. Over the years, the CAYLA students have dedicated more than 2,600 hours to nonprofits such as MANNA, ABCCM, the Salvation Army, Brother Wolf, and Habitat for Humanity.

More than 100 local students have participated in CAYLA since its inception. More than 85 percent of CAYLA alumni are still attending college or have completed their degree.

The members of the 2014-2015 Class of CAYLA are: Candida Alas-Ortega, Kanaje Allen, Brittany Boseman, Korina Dariy, Michael Davis, Joshua Garcia-Billings, Itzel Garcia-Ruiz, Jahni Gilliland, Raekwon Griffin, Taekwon Griffin, Ella Heldreth-Schmitt, Phoenix Keyser, Antares Lance, Mariah Lee, Josue Lomeli-Garcia, Shaunessy Lofton, Diana Marquez, Oscar Marquez, Cindy Marquez, Randesha Neely, Mikayla Ray, Jamie Rhodes, Symone’ Simmons, Satorrius Uddyback, and
Promyss Watley.

Click here for more information about the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy.

Leave a Comment April 23, 2014

East of the Riverway initiative explores sustainable development alternatives

On March 25, the City of Asheville issued a Request for Proposals for a study for alternatives to gentrification in the East of the Riverway area. The RFP marks a next big step in a planning project focused on supporting a collaborative and concerted revitalization project that also promotes sustainable development.

“What we are talking about is affordability,” says Community Development Director Jeff Staudinger. “As much of the city changes and develops, there are a lot of people in this area who love their community and who are concerned that it will change in a way that excludes them.”

The East of the Riverway area is made up of roughly 1,100 acres to the east of the French Broad River and stretches from Hilliard Avenue south to Meadow Road and the Swannanoa River. It includes Asheville’s River Arts District and the WECAN, South French Broad, Walton Street, Livingston Street and Erskine neighborhoods.

The East of the Riverway Sustainable Multimodal Neighborhood model combines neighborhood sustainability, infill development and multi-modal transportation options to address inequity that historically arises from traditional urban development scenarios. Increased housing choices, and better access to transportation and entrepreneurial opportunity all have the potential to encourage economically diverse neighborhoods and livable communities.

Asheville City Council has made affordable housing and multimodal transportation top priorities in its strategic goals.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the City of Asheville an $850,000 Tiger II grant for use in the East of the Riverway planning process.

With new development like the New Belgium Brewery on the way, and with imminent development of greenway routes, the East of the Riverway area is in the spotlight both for growth and the need for strategies that maintain housing affordability for existing neighborhood residents.

Throughout 2012 and 2013, the community participated in surveys, focus groups and input meetings to explore transportation needs and the preservation of neighborhood history. On March 18, city planning staff and the planning study consulting teams met with over 70 community members to explain how the voices of community members factored into the planning process and directly influenced the proposed transportation and economic improvements.

That meeting marked the beginning of the next stage of the East of the Riverway Livable Communities initiative. City planners have issued a Request for Proposals for alternatives to gentrification and to put into play the real solutions for sustainable growth.

Proposals for alternatives could take several directions, from artist live-work housing and Community Land Trusts to Co-Housing and cooperative property ownership. These are the kinds of ideas that can be examined as possible tools to help ensure long-term affordability for existing stakeholders.

See the Request for Proposals for Alternatives to Gentrification study here.

Find out more about the East of the Riverway initiative at: www.eastoftheriverway.com.

Leave a Comment April 3, 2014

2014 Asheville Way Awards spotlight exemplary service

Each year, the City of Asheville recognizes outstanding achievement and service by employees with the Asheville Way Awards. Nominees are proposed by their own colleagues and the winners of each category were named at a ceremony at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr., Southside Center on Wednesday, March 12.

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Below are the nominees for each category, with the winners in bold, as well as photos from the event. Thanks and congratulations to everyone involved!

2014 Asheville Way Awards nominees

Continuous Improvement
James Bell, Parks and Recreation
Tim Bayless, Public Works
Ed Eads, APD
Steve Fridl, AFD
Stephanie Monson-Dahl, Economic Improvement
Steven Frey, Information Technology

Integrity
William Allen Sr., Public Works
Joseph Meadows, AFD

Diversity
Patrick Crudup, AFD
Robert “Rock” Jones, Public Works

Safety and Welfare
Bobby Austin, Public Works
Darlene Barnwell, Water
Roger Massey, Water
Michael Webb, AFD

Excellent Service
Randy Anders, Parks and Recreation
Nicole Hart, Water
Jakob Klodt, Public Works
Stephanie O’Conner, Public Works
Byron Silvers, AFD

Outstanding Leadership
Chris Budzinski, AFD
David Carr, Human Resources
Donald Fender, Public Works
Karen Gillespie, U.S. Cellular Center
Arther Hensley, Public Works
Joe Silberman, APD

Above and Beyond
Melody Cox, APD
Jeff Hair, Water
Eric Hardy, Finance
Jeremy Hyatt, Public Works
Diane Meek, Development Services Center
Michael Riley, AFD
Lisa Taube, APD

Rising Ster
Matthew Spielman Argonauta, Public Works
Rodney Arrowood, Water
Chris Corl, U.S. Cellular Center
Dakota Maynor, General Services
Joshua Kingry, APD
Daniel “Trey” Young, AFD

Outstanding Team
AFD Recruitment Team
APD Public Housing Team
APD South Central A Days
APD South Central B Nights
Engineering Project Team
Health Services Team
HVAC Controls Team
PRCA Trades Workers Team
Storm Damage Repair Team

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Leave a Comment March 14, 2014

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