Sign up now for the fall Citizens Police Academy

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The Asheville Police Department is now inviting residents to apply for the fall semester of its Citizens Police Academy.

This free program gives participants insight into the philosophy and policies that govern the APD’s service to the community. The class is designed to give residents an appreciation for the problems and challenges facing law enforcement, as well as an up-close opportunity to offer insights, ideas, and solutions.

Classes begin on September 4th at 5:30 p.m. at the police department.

The academy lasts for 12 consecutive weeks, with three-hour classes held on Thursdays. The final day of the class is a graduation ceremony.

The course consists of basic classroom instruction, presentations, and demonstrations on topics such as criminal investigations, constitutional and criminal law, use of force, departmental structure, and defensive tactics.

Participants will also be able to ride with police officers on patrol.

Those wishing to participate must apply and be accepted. For more information on the academy, contact Officer Keith McCulloch at 259-5834 or e-mail him at kmcculloch@ashevillenc.gov.

Leave a Comment July 10, 2014

RiverLink hosts free talks for artists interested in contract work with the City of Asheville

B.Mills (2)We are excited to announce that the city’s Economic Development Specialist Brenda Mills will be a featured speaker for several free information sessions hosted by RiverLink focusing on opportunities for artists to contract with the City of Asheville. Brenda works in the city’s Office of Economic Development and focuses much of her energy on informing community members about contracting opportunities with the city.

“This is about engagement and interaction,” Mills says. “Asheville has a vital arts economy and we want everyone to know about every opportunity that is available to them.”

Here’s the full announcement from RiverLink:

CALLING ALL ARTISTS: LEARN HOW TO BE A CITY ART CONTRACTOR

Join RiverLink and Brenda Mills to find out how as an artist you can become a contractor for the city. We are pleased to offer these special two hour interactive FREE information sessions at RiverLink’s Warehouse Studios, 170 Lyman Street from 10 to 12 starting on July 24 subsequent programs will be held on August 26, September 25, October 29, November 17 and January 29. Reservations are a must so make your by calling RiverLink at 828-252-8474, ext 10.

Brenda Mills is an Economic Development Specialist with the Office of Economic Development for the City of Asheville. Brenda has been in Western North Carolina (WNC) since 1992 working in the public sector for over 23 years with an emphasis on entrepreneurship supporting both Buncombe County and the City of Asheville’s initiative on minority business & community outreach. She served eight (8) years on the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium as the city’s representative and recently joined the Land of Sky Regional Council’s board as minority representative for Buncombe County.

She currently works on economic initiatives to include minority business outreach for all city contracting, public art acquisition which includes staff liaison to the Public Art & Cultural Commission, and works with the city’s current and future incentives supporting job growth and increasing tax base for the City. Brenda has worked extensively in WNC with other business assistance agencies, colleges, universities and non-profits to support a vibrant region with such efforts as Minority Enterprise Development Week, the City’s Reverse Vendor Fair, community visioning in the French Broad and East End neighborhoods and recommendation and implementation of the city’s living wage policy.

This next phase of training artists on how to be public artists is to increase and encourage a greater response to the city’s future calls for artists on future public projects. This free training will highlight an actual call for artist process, general overview of public contracting basics, resources and how to connect.

RiverLink’s popular Wilma Dykeman RiverWay plans call for economic development that focus on the core strengths in our watershed – recreation in all its forms from manufacturing to retail, health & wellness and arts and crafts. This is part of series of business topics RiverLink is proud to host which include a partnership with SBTDC and the AB Tech small business council, among others.

For more information contact RiverLink at 828-252-8474, ext 16. or at information@riverlink.org.

Leave a Comment July 9, 2014

APD Strategic Operations Plan available online

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The Asheville Police Department’s development of a strategic operations plan for 2014-2017 reaches a new milestone as the department prepares to introduce its three-year plan to the community. The Strategic Operations Plan is a proactive tool intended to deliver guidance and structure for the department to continually improve its service to the citizens of Asheville.

Now, you can see the APD Strategic Operations Plan, background on the development process and upcoming steps in its implementation at ashevillenc.gov/projects.

The SOP development process began in 2013, with the recognition of the need for a roadmap for the department as it heads into the future. Since then, an ongoing input process that includes members of the public, stakeholders, the Citizens Police Advisory Committee, and police department employees, has provided the framework for a successful blueprint.

“Our plan not only serves as the foundation for how we will provide police services in the future, but also serves as the department’s vehicle for establishing a shared vision as a unified department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.

Anderson will present the Strategic Operations Plan to the public at a series of meetings, beginning with a July 17 meeting at the Public Works facility at 161 S. Charlotte St. The community is encouraged to attend to learn how public input was integrated into the plan and participate in the next steps for strengthening the partnership between the department and the community. The meeting will take place from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

“We knew from the beginning that the public’s involvement would be crucial to creating a successful plan,” Anderson said. “We are looking forward to presenting this plan and continuing the dialog with the community.”

Leave a Comment July 7, 2014

New North Louisiana Ave sidewalk construction underway

The latest section of sidewalk in a network of sidewalks serving North Louisiana Avenue is under construction as crews begin pouring concrete on the 800 linear feet linkage. The sidewalk project is the fifth in a planned six sections totaling 5,580 linear feet that create a safe pedestrian corridor from Patton Avenue to just past Emma Elementary School.NLouisiana

Economic investment in sidewalks connects communities and the North Louisiana sidewalks make the neighborhood safer for pedestrians, giving students and parents at Emma Elementary the option to walk from nearby homes. They also encourage economic growth by providing access to business corridors like Patton Avenue for customers and employees alike.

“The residents, business owners and property owners in this area have been amazingly supportive of this project,” said Senior Project Manager John Gavin. “And they contributed to its success by donating the necessary construction easements we needed for completion.”

This linkage from North Louisiana Business Park to the city limits at Skyview Terrace is funded by Community Development Block Grant Funds with the cooperation of the NCDOT, which owns and maintains North Louisiana Avenue. The linkage is anticipated to be completed by early August, 2014.

Other sections of sidewalk on North Louisiana Avenue utilized a combination of Safe Routes to Schools funding, federal CDBG funds and a Job Access/Reverse Commute grant through the Federal Transit Administration.

Completed sidewalk construction on Patton Avenue were paid for with City of Asheville capital improvement project funds.

Leave a Comment June 25, 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

Asheville Police Department promotes Evan Coward to Sergeant

In a ceremony at Asheville City Hall Thursday, Asheville Police Chief Willam Anderson announced the promotion of officer Evan Coward to the rank of Sergeant.

TryTHis one1Coward is an eight-year veteran on the APD and has served as a Community Resource Officer for the South/Central district since 2007. His work as a CRO and his contributions to the improvement of neighborhoods there earned him much support in the communities he serves.

“He’s been one of the finest, dedicated individuals I’ve worked with in some time,” Andserson said.

Alongside Coward’s friends and family, Thursday’s ceremony was attended by members of the community, fellow APD officers, city staff and elected officials.

1 Comment June 20, 2014

Asheville Fire Department announces new Chief Officers

The Asheville Fire Department is proud to announce the promotions of three of its Chief Officers into key leadership positions.

Wayne Hamilton and Barry Hendren have each been promoted to the position of Assistant Fire Chief, and Chris Budzinski will now serve as Deputy Fire Chief.

left to right: Assistant Fire Chief Hendren, Assistant Fire Chief Hamilton, Deputy Fire Chief Budzinski

left to right: Assistant Fire Chief Hendren, Assistant Fire Chief Hamilton, Deputy Fire Chief Budzinski

“We are very excited about the new leadership team, and anticipate they will serve the City of Asheville Fire Department well in moving it forward to the next level,” said AFD Chief Scott Burnette. “Each of these chief officers brings to the table a diverse set of skills and abilities that will add to the continuous improvement of the department and contribute to the service of this community.”

Wayne Hamilton has been with the department since 1989, has 20 years’ experience as Fire Marshal. Barry Hendren, also with the department since 1989, most recently served as Division Chief-Safety and Training. Chris Budzinski has been with the department since 2001, and prior to promotion served as Acting Divison Chief.

All three underwent specialized training and a rigorous examination and performance review process including interviews with internal and external stakeholders and city department heads, as well as a performance review by their peers.

Leave a Comment June 19, 2014

Open House spotlights changes and growth on Asheville’s Riverfront

Asheville’s riverfront is experiencing some of the most energetic growth and economic renewal in the city, and it’s not just limited to the River Arts District. New businesses in Biltmore Station and Biltmore Village, new homes in Kenilworth, Oakley and Tunnel Road, and the city’s infrastructure and flood mitigation improvement project at Azalea Road are indicators of growth in the Swannanoa River Corridor. Each month, the City of Asheville holds an open house at City Hall to encourage the sharing of information on riverfront developments between the city, residents, and private businesses. This month, staff will focus on the Swannanoa River Corridor.

Asheville's river corridor as depicted in the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay plan

Asheville’s river corridor as depicted in the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay plan

The open houses are held every third Thursday on the 5th floor of City Hall, and residents, property owners, entrepreneurs or anyone interested in the future of the river corridor are invited to attend. City staff and members of the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission are on hand to answer questions and also to hear from members of the public. Each month has a special focus area, but conversation is not limited to that topic.

“These open houses are an excellent time to hear from the community about what they think is important to pay attention to as this area moves forward,” said Urban Planner Steph Monson Dahl. “This kind of interaction really helps us, residents, and the private sector visualize the kind of change that is going on in the corridor.”

The next Riverfront Open house will be held Thursday, June 19 from 3-5 p.m. For more information, contact Steph Monson Dahl at smonson@ashevillenc.gov or
(828) 232-4502.

Leave a Comment June 17, 2014

Sign up now for graffiti removal assistance

123-graffiti-freeAs part of a push to eliminate graffiti in the City of Asheville, the city will assist property owners in cleaning up graffiti between July 1 and September 30, 2014, but there’s no need to wait to sign up.

As of Monday, June 16, property owners can use the online Asheville App (ashevillenc.gov/ashevilleapp) to sign up ahead of the July 1 start date. Click the graffiti category and type “I’d like help with graffiti clean up,” along with the address, in the fields provided to go ahead and get on the list for graffiti removal.

The City of Asheville, with help from an anonymous donor, is providing up to $500.00 in graffiti clean up per building, with an agreement that the property owner pays costs above $500.00.

Leave a Comment June 17, 2014

Checking in on the Lake Craig/Azalea Road project

TimBayless

Six months in and the Lake Craig/Azalea Road project is well underway as specialized contractors begin the highly visible streambed relocation along the Swannanoa River at Gashes Creek Road.

Despite the scale of this project to manage high waters during floods and install infrastructure improvements and roadway access, the facilities at Recreation Park such as the picnic area, pool and the WNC Nature Center remain open to the public.

“This is a big project, but we understand that as we move into the summer, people are going to want to use this park,” said Stormwater Services Manager McCray Coates. “There are designated construction areas in place which will allow the park to remain usable.” Access to the river at the park will be limited as work begins on the streambed relocation this week, Coates says. “We do want people to stay out of the construction area,” he said.

Keeping the project rolling involves managing several specific tasks at the same time:

Riverbend

One of the main fixtures of the project is the relocation of the streambed next to Recreation Park. The section currently has a sharp turn that, during high water, erodes and potentially undermines the embankment beneath Azalea Road. A contractor has already cleared vegetation along to site and begun moving fill from one bank to the other and over the next few weeks, work will increase at that site.

newriver

Straightening the bend in the river will ease erosion on the bank, while boulders placed in the streambed will slow water as it moves downstream.

picnic

Park amenities like picnic pavilions and the Recreation Park Pool are still open for the park’s most popular season.

bridge pilings

Crews have completed pilings for a bridge that will tie into the new roadway connecting the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex with Gashes Creek Road, a move that will introduce a smoother traffic pattern and incorporate infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. Next, crews will begin building the bridge abutments for the 150-foot bridge span across the Swannanoa River.

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The construction team is removing fill from a plain that runs along the river, a move that will allow water a place to go in cases of high flood waters.

compacting

On the other side of the Swannanoa River, trucks are compacting dirt along the future site of the road that will connect to the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex.

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Work on phase one of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road project is anticipated to be complete in December. Click here more information.

Leave a Comment June 9, 2014

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