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In a Dec. 10 planning meeting in the City Council Chamber, Esther Manheimer took an oath of office making her Asheville’s newest Mayor. Serving as vice-mayor for the past two years, Manheimer was elected to City Council in 2009.
Council’s newest addition, Gwen Wisler, also took an oath of office, as did re-elected Council members Cecil Bothwell and Gordon Smith. All were surrounded by friends, family and supporters as Council prepares to move into a new year.
Mayor Esther Manheimer is sworn in at the Dec. 10 ceremony.
In an earlier ceremony, outgoing two-term mayor Terry Bellamy was presented with her portrait to hang outside the Council Chamber.
Cecil Bothwell was re-elected to a second term on Asheville City Council.
Re-elected Council member Gordon Smith takes the oath of office.
Gwen Wisler is Council's newest addition, having been elected to her seat in November.
The new lineup. After the ceremony, Council held its first meeting and the last of 2013. The next Council meeting will be held Jan. 14, 2014.
Bellamy's portrait hangs outside Council Chambers in City Hall alongside the portraits of 45 former Asheville Mayors.
December 13, 2013
On Tuesday Dec. 10, the City of Asheville celebrated the swearing in of City Council members and a new mayor, as well as an appreciation of an outgoing mayor. Only minutes before that event, the city’s broadcasting and video equipment suffered a technical issue that shut down cameras in the City Council Chamber and the live stream to the internet. Fortunately, the cameras, audio, and live feed were restored in time to broadcast this important event to the community.
Unfortunately, the malfunction also affected the video recording capability leaving us with only audio files of the ceremony and the statements made by Council members.
And that’s where this unusual request comes in! As would be expected, there were a lot of people who came to City Hall to mark this occasion, and many brought video cameras and smart phones to record the event. As we would like to commemorate the event on our web site and have a memento for our archives, the City of Asheville is asking members of the public who attended the ceremony for their video and still photo submissions of the ceremony. We will take the footage and photos and edit them together into a montage to play over the audio recording.
If you have video footage or photos you would like to submit, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you an invite to post content to the city’s online Dropbox account (submissions will not be public until editing is complete). Or, if you have your own Dropbox account, you can send a “share” invite to email@example.com and we can retrieve files from there.
Any quality or angle is appreciated, but larger photo files will have better quality. And if we use your media, we will credit you in a “Thanks to…” frame at the end of the video.
This is an important occasion for the community and with your submissions we can create a video with a true community character.
December 11, 2013
Looking for a way to get involved in local government and play a part in shaping the future of Asheville? Serving on an Asheville City Council Board or Commission is a great place to start. More than 250 people serve on 35 advisory boards and help guide policy decisions for the City of Asheville.
Each month we offer a profile of one of these valuable advisory boards. To see a list of openings on Council Boards and Commissions through 2014, click here.
Council Board and Commission profile: Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee
Formed in: 2008
Number of members: 16
Term: Three years
Meets: Fourth Monday of each month, 11 a.m., Housing Authority Board Room, 165 S. French Broad Avenue
With 16 members, the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee is one of the larger boards in the City of Asheville and is one of only a handful that has members appointed by both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. That’s because the issue of homelessness affects a broad area and population not restricted to city limits.
In 2007, Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners approved the 10-Year-Plan to End Homelessness and formed the Homeless Initiative. Director Heather Dillashaw is the initiative’s only staffer, and says the advisory committee is critical for advancing the goals of the 10-Year-Plan, researching and tracking data that paint an accurate, useful picture of homelessness in the area.
“They are the Initiative. Their work is the reason we reduced chronic homelessness by 82 percent since 2006,” Dillashaw said. “They are the reason we are on track with the 10-year-plan.”
The Homeless Initiative receives approximately $1 million in Federal funding annually and one of the HIAC’s biggest jobs is to determine where those resources can do the most good. Often, those recommendations go to Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee, which works to prioritize affordable housing issues. Affordability remains at the top of Asheville City Council’s strategic operating plan.
Recommendations from the HIAC have resulted in reduced chronic homelessness as well as the cases of veterans experiencing homelessness. Efforts continue to address the “hard to house” population as well as the issue of family and youth homelessness, all of which require different resources and strategies.
HIAC members are often involved with service providers and agencies that deal with homelessness issues, and serve on a variety of sub committees according to their expertise. But committee chair David Nash says that members from outside those organizations provide critical input as well.
“The real value of this group is having a lot of different perspectives in the room,” says Nash, who serves as Deputy Director of the City of Asheville Housing Authority.
“It helps having members of the public there to ask questions that those of us closer to the issues wouldn’t think about.”
The City of Asheville is currently advertising for applicants for the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee as well as the Board of Adjustment, the Community Relations Council, the Fireman’s Relief Fund, the Metropolitan Sewerage District Board, the Riverfront Area Redevelopment Commission, the Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and Environment and the Tree Commission. Applications are due by January 8, 2014. If you would like to apply for any of these boards or commissions, contact the City Clerk at (828) 259-5601 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow this link for more information.
December 11, 2013
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 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 email@example.com.
Name of group: Five Points Neighborhood Association
Formed when: Formed in the mid 1990s
Location: Five Points neighborhood is situated about a mile north of the city of Asheville. It sits between Merrimon Avenue and Broadway and continues north to North Street near UNC Asheville.
What qualities make your neighborhood unique?
Many of the houses are historic and beautiful wooden bungalows and craftsman 4 squares built between 1900 and 1925. The neighborhood is centrally located, and great for walking or biking into town, Montford, UNC Asheville, and local schools. We have sidewalks on most of our streets.
Who are the people that make up your neighborhood?
There is an eclectic mix of people living in Five Points–the neighbors generally know each other and help each other out. Some folks have lived in the neighborhood for generations, but now we are seeing more young families moving in, as well as recent retirees looking for a walkable neighborhood experience. We have professionals, craftsmen, teachers, professors, students, chefs, acupuncturists, health care workers, many artists, activists, musicians, photographers and fantastic gardeners.
What is some of your neighborhood’s history?
The neighborhood was one of the first bedroom communities in the City of Asheville. The streetcar service used to run up to Mt. Clare Avenue and end at Hillside, an area we call Little Five Points. That is why that street is wider than any of the others. The estate of Mr. George Pack, of Pack Square fame in Asheville sat where the new Harris Teeter site sits today. The estate was called Many Oaks and there was a large mansion there with a grand stone wall encircling it. In the 1970s the building fell into disrepair and it was demolished. The neighborhood, like most of the city of Asheville went through a rough patch but began to revive again in the 1990s.
What role does your neighborhood play as part of Asheville’s community?
Our neighbors care deeply about local government, the environment, safety and helping Asheville to be a more progressive city. We are a vocal group of concerned citizens. We have worked closely with the city, helping government understand our needs and concerns, most recently regarding the highway business zoning of the Harris Teeter site. Also, there is a program going on to help solarize Asheville neighborhoods. Many of our neighbors in Five Points will be incorporating solar power into their homes in the coming months. There is also talk of a community garden.
What are some of the things you look forward to in the future of your neighborhood?
We look forward to traffic calming on some of our streets because of new development on Merrimon. We have concerns about cut through traffic and congestion on our very narrow city streets. We have been working closely with the city’s traffic department to facilitate this. We’d like to see sidewalks on streets that are lacking them. Graffiti is also problem in our neighborhood; we’d like to see less of it, and possibly more art in its place.
Name something that you would like to see to make your neighborhood better.
We would like a good buffer between the Harris Teeter site and the neighborhood homes, safe streets without fear of speeding cars and cut through traffic. Less graffiti and more gardens and art, more block parties, pot luck dinners, preservation of houses and good neighbors.
October 24, 2013
September 6, 2013
The public is invited to come to 344 Depot St. (Pink Dog Creative) between 4 and 7 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 20 to see conceptual designs by eight local designers for 10 acres of publicly-owned property on the French Broad Riverfront. Your input is wanted!
Details on the flyer below:
August 19, 2013
The Asheville Police Department has the following information and video about staying safe as school starts back:
On Wednesday August 21, 2013, Asheville City Schools will be back in session. We ask for your assistance in keeping our children safe as they return to school. Please remember that traffic will be congested near city schools and plan your route accordingly. Remember to look for kids at bus stops and be aware of when you need to stop for a school bus when it is loading or unloading passengers.
Traffic in both directions must stop on two lane roads, two lane roads with a center turning lane, four lane roadway without a center turn lane or median divider (for example Merrimon Ave, Charlotte St). Only traffic following the school bus needs to stop on a four lane road with a center divider or median separation of a center turn lane (North Carolina General Statute 20-217). Be aware that school zone speed limits will be enforced and that APD officers will be running radar.
Please see the Asheville Police Department Traffic Safety Unit’s PSA regarding safe motoring as school starts.
August 16, 2013
In a continued effort to reduce waste headed for the landfill, the City of Asheville is restructuring its fees for recycling and solid waste collection.
Beginning July 1, the city will replace the $3.50 per month recycling fee with a $7.00 per month solid waste fee. This fee will continue to appear on the combined utility statement and will apply to all customers using the city’s solid waste collection services.
The fee change more accurately represents the high cost of waste disposal. Solid waste services use about 80,000 gallons of fuel each year. These costs continue to rise and make it difficult to continue delivering quality service with the same amount of money.
Replacing the $3.50 per month recycling fee with a $7.00 per month solid waste fee will generate an additional $750,000 that will be used to further reduce materials going into the landfill through the installation of downtown recycling containers and allow for optimization of solid waste collection routes in order to reduce fuel costs.
The City of Asheville’s Zero Waste campaign is aimed at reducing landfill waste. The “Big Blue” recycling carts rolled out in 2012 have resulted in a significant increase in recycled materials in the city. The City of Asheville remains dedicated to reducing its waste and carbon footprint.
Find out more here.
June 7, 2013
Reposted from the City of Asheville web site:
In an ongoing effort to communicate fiscal realities and identify community priorities in the upcoming budget year, Asheville City Council will hold a community budget meeting Thursday, April 18, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in the gymnasium of Charles T. Koontz Intermediate School, located at 305 Overlook Road, Asheville.
The community budget meeting is another step in engaging residents in the ongoing budget process.
At a March 12 work session, city staff presented City Council with preliminary balancing strategies to close a $2 million budgetary gap.
On April 3, the public was invited to a town hall meeting at the U.S. Cellular Center where a deeper level of budget balancing strategies were introduced based on forecasted revenue impacts of recently proposed state legislation.
At the April 18 meeting, staff will once again update Council and the community on new developments, following which, members of the public will be asked to participate in small group budget discussions to help prioritize and weigh impacts of budget balancing options.
Background, staff reports and updates on the 2013-2014 budget discussion can be found at: ashevillenc.gov/budget.
Koontz Intermediate School is located shares an entrance with Valley Springs Middle School. The entrance is located on Overlook Road just north of the intersection with Long Shoals Road and south of the South Asheville Library.
April 15, 2013
The City of Asheville’s Public Works Department hosted a visiting class of pre-kindergarten students from Carolina Day School at its South Charlotte Street Facility Feb. 15, showing the children and some parents around the big trucks and equipment the department uses.
Teacher Cathy Walters says that the field trip is part of the school’s curriculum focusing on the seasons of the year, and the children get to learn about how Public Works crews salt and plow the streets during winter weather storms. “They’ve been very excited,” she said.
The visit is an annual tradition, and the department has been hosting the groups for some time.
“We’ve been doing this for years,” says Streets and Engineering Manager Greg Shuler. “The kids really love this stuff.”
The tour isn’t limited to snow and ice removal. The children get to learn about equipment that keeps the city’s storm drains clear, the trucks that pick up trash every week, and see the tall bucket truck city arborist Mark Foster uses to trim trees.
The Public Works Department takes on projects throughout the City of Asheville such as sidewalk construction and roadway improvements, maintains the city’s fleet of vehicles and operates stormwater and sanitation services.
But Walters says the big finale is the gigantic pile of salt and sand Public Works keeps on hand in the shed for winter weather. It’s such a big deal, the Carolina Day School children even sang a song written just for the occasion, which ends in a refrain about the Public Works crews who drive salt-spreading trucks when snow and ice threaten roads:
“Salt and sand go out and get spread about
City workers spring into action
Salt melts the snow and helps us go
By giving wheels some traction.”
The City of Asheville Public Works Department is pleased to accommodate schools and groups interested in visiting its facility. Anyone who would like to arrange a field trip can contact Greg Shuler at (828) 271-6146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 19, 2013