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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 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
The City of Asheville animal control ordinance requires all resident dog owners purchase a license for every dog six months or older. The City of Asheville’s Animal Services Unit, a part of the Asheville Police Department, is in charge of making sure dogs are licensed, but there are other reasons besides the possibility of a ticket to get your dog on the record.
“Dog owners use different City resources than other residents,” says Animal Services Supervisor Brenda Sears. And those services cost the City money to operate. The City of Asheville maintains two popular dog parks, one at the French Broad River Park and one at Azalea Park. Both parks provide fenced-in, mulched, safe places for owners to let their dogs run and socialize. It’s a great resource for healthy and happy dogs and for dog owners to meet one another.
Additionally, select City of Asheville parks have bag and trash stations for dog owners to use to keep their pet’s waste cleaned up. These stations help keep the parks clean and safe for everyone, so PLEASE clean up after your dog!
One of the best reasons to get a dog license is that it may get your beloved pet home sooner if he or she escapes and runs free. Escaped, unlicensed dogs picked up by Animal Services are taken to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter and can only come home after the owner pays an impound fee. Licensed dogs can often be returned to their owners without a trip to the shelter and without the resulting extra expense. “Licenses help us get them home quicker,” Sears says.
Lastly, we all, animal owners included, benefit from the support provided by Animal Services. Loose dogs are in danger of being hit by vehicles and can be a nuisance to other dogs on leashes or their owners. They also pose a danger to motorists who may try to stop suddenly or swerve to avoid hitting a roaming pet. Animal Services is around to answer the call if a pet gets loose. Animal Services also investigates cruelty to animals, animal bites and dangerous animals which are concerns for the entire community.
In 2012, the City of Asheville contracted with the company PetData to handle dog licensing, and the company offers an easy online process for applying and paying for dog licenses. The license is only $10 for a year, but is good from January-December. So the earlier you register for a license, the better value it is!
Click here to purchase a City of Asheville dog license.
December 4, 2013
Community engagement and involvement played a huge part in a recent investigation into several break-ins in an Asheville community. See this press release from the APD on how initiatives like community policing and “Changing Together” have brought neighbors and police together to fight crime in communities:
On September 2, 2013, three residents of the Southside community of Asheville experienced breaking and entering into their homes. These crimes occurred during the day and while the victims were out of their homes. Asheville Police officers assigned to the Southside community noted the similarities between these three incidents and began to investigate them as being related. While the officers were doing so, however, the numbers of similar cases in that same community began to grow.
The officers were able to recover physical evidence left by one of the offenders that resulted in revealing his identity. Through these same officers having a working knowledge of their beat, the suspect was taken into custody. Further research into this person’s known associates revealed a number of other offenders that were subsequently implicated in the string of crimes.
At the same time, one of the officers recognized the need of the Asheville Police Department to involve the members of the community in the investigation. The purpose of this need was to provide the citizens with ideas and methods to protect and secure their homes against future crimes of opportunity, and also to empower them to work alongside the officers working toward making their community a safer place to work and live. Dozens of community members attended the meeting, during which these cases and other issues affecting the community were discussed.
As the investigation continued, community support led to the identification of the home in which the spoils of these crimes were being kept. The collaboration between the community members and the APD led to the ability of the officers to receive a search warrant for this home. A subsequent search led to the seizure of multiple items of stolen property, including a firearm taken during one of the early breaking and entering cases. In all, the investigation involved 17 separate incidents and resulted in excess of 30 felony charges being levied against nine offenders.
The successful resolution of the incidents is the direct result of a positive collaboration between community members, stakeholders (Changing Together, Southside Community Advisory Board), and patrol officers within the Asheville Police Department. Through dedicated and ongoing efforts such as these, the philosophy known commonly as community policing was put into practice and is shown to be an effective method of addressing crime.
For more information about how the APD interacts with communities as well as ways to report criminal activity to officers, click here.
December 2, 2013
Two City of Asheville parking garages will been seen in a different light thanks to the City of Asheville’s participation in a newly implemented energy efficiency program with Duke Energy Progress.
Utilizing the Duke Energy Progress Small Business Energy Saver Program, the city will replace lights inside the Wall Street and Rankin Avenue parking garages with LED lighting. LED lighting is much more energy efficient than the high-pressure sodium lights currently being used, and the move will dramatically reduce the energy used by the facilities, resulting in significant utility savings to the City of Asheville.
Thanks to the SBES Program, the upgrade comes at a considerable savings to the City of Asheville. Duke Energy Progress will pick up 65 percent of the cost of the installation, leaving the city’s match at $47,510. With a projected savings of $20,000 per year, the project will pay for the city’s contribution in less than 36 months.
Since they run 24 hours a day, parking garage lights are a great candidate for energy reduction strategies. In all, 225 lights will be replaced in the two garages, with an energy reduction equal to the equivalent of 150 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The replacement will take place during December and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The scope of work and impact of the work will be comparable to routine maintenance in the garages and is expected to create a minimum of disruption for holiday shoppers parking in the facilities.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to advance the goals of reducing the City of Asheville’s carbon footprint in a very cost effective way,” said Kerby Smithson, Energy Analyst with the city’s Office of Sustainability. “And we are thankful to Duke Energy Progress for making this kind of partnership available to the city and to small businesses in the area.”
The Wall Street and Rankin Avenue facilities are two of four parking garages operated by the City of Asheville. The city’s newest garage, on Biltmore Avenue beneath the Aloft hotel, was constructed using LED lighting.
Asheville City Council unanimously approved this partnership at its November 12 meeting. Council has set a goal of reducing carbon reduction goal from municipal operations 80% by 2030, and one of Council’s strategic goals is that Asheville be the southeastern leader in clean energy and environmental sustainability.
The City of Asheville’s Sustainability Office works throughout the City of Asheville organization to develop opportunities for reductions in municipal energy use.
For more information, go to ashevillenc.gov/green.
More from the CoaBlog:
LED Streetlights Coming to a Street Near You
Biltmore Avenue Parking Garage earns regional recognition
November 26, 2013
A professional association dedicated to quality water services has recognized a City of Asheville Water Distribution Operator with back to back awards for outstanding efforts and contributions to water services.
Timothy Burdine, an 11-year employee of the city’s Water Resources Department, received awards from the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association (NC AWWA-WEA) as well as the AWWA’s national body.
Tim Burdine at the awards ceremony with NC AWWA-WEA Chair Jackie Jarrell.
Burdine was awarded the NC AWWA-WEA’s Water Operator of the Year Award and the AWWA’s Operator’s Meritorious Service Award Plaque at conference in Concord, NC earlier this month.
Water Maintenance Superintendent Ivan Thomas says that actions such as Burdine’s handling of traffic, communications and remediation after a recent water break on Swannanoa River Road cut off a major route for ambulances to Mission Hospital led to his nomination for the awards.
Burdine, Thomas says, also has impacted the department by standardizing operational procedures and upgrading them to utilize new technology, reducing water loss throughout the system.
“We are proud of Tim and the great work he does for Water Services,” Thomas said. “And these awards highlight the kind of dedication he brings to his job every day.”
Burdine supervises three work crews that head up construction projects, valve assessment and leak detection and recently oversaw two water construction projects replacing 700 linear feet of galvanized water lines with new pipe. This summer, he began attending Southwestern Community College.
Click here for more on the City of Asheville’s Water Resource Department.
November 25, 2013
The Asheville Police Department is proud to announce the promotions of two of its officers. On Wednesday, November 20, fifteen year veteran Detective Ricardo Martinez and Senior Police Officer Shaun Ward, an 11 year veteran, were promoted to the rank of sergeant at a ceremony in Asheville City Council Chambers.
APD Sgt. Ricardo Martinez
APD Sgt. Shaun Ward
The ceremony was officiated by Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and attended by the families, friends and colleagues from the Asheville Police Department and the City of Asheville organization.
“I am proud to be able to promote two outstanding members of our department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.
Mayor Bellamy had words of encouragement and praise for Martinez, Ward and the other officers of the Asheville Police Department. “Every day, you put on a badge and say ‘I’m going to go out and protect someone I don’t even know.’ I look forward to seeing you all do great things in this department.”
November 21, 2013
An audit of the City of Asheville’s Building Safety Division by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has resulted in high marks for performance and commitment to building code enforcement.
The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) 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 ISO audit of the city’s program this summer resulted in scores of 2 for both the residential and commercial building safety programs.
“These are scores to be proud of,” said Director of Development Services Shannon Tuch. “It shows a dedication to quality, professionalism and customer service on the part of our building safety employees.”
Strong adherence to building codes affects the kind of impact natural disasters have on buildings, and positively affects the safety of citizens and the economic stability of a community.
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.
Asheville’s Building Safety program consists of a team of 30 people responsible for the application and permitting process, plan review, and building inspection services to all areas within the Asheville City limits. The mission of Asheville’s Building Safety program is to protect lives, health, and property in the city and to support economic development by providing quality building and development permit services while enforcing the North Carolina State Building Codes, Asheville Housing Code, and related environmental codes. The Building Safety program is a division of the Development Services Department. Click here for more information.
November 19, 2013
In the below video, UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center Director James Fox talks about the upcoming open house to examine and discuss potential impacts from heavy rainfall events.
Original press release below:
Open house to focus on weather impact strategies
ASHEVILLE – On Nov. 20, the public is invited to an open house to learn more about the impacts and responses to this summer’s rainfall, and to discuss what the area can expect from future weather events. The open house, presented by the City of Asheville and UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), will take place at NEMAC’s 116 Grove Arcade location in downtown Asheville.
The summer of 2013 saw record rainfall in and around Asheville, with storms dumping nearly 12 inches of rain in July alone. That volume of rainfall in such a short period of time presented new challenges to the City of Asheville as Public Works officials responded to incidents like landslides and sinkholes.
“This summer’s rainfall affected many people in our community and had a profound impact on infrastructure and property,” said Assistant City Manager Cathy Ball. “And as a community, we need to have a conversation about what steps we can to take to prepare for and minimize impacts from future storm events.”
The on-site technology provided by NEMAC will offer visitors computer simulations of rainfall impacts on Asheville, and even provide site-specific illustrations of flood and stormwater runoff impact. The City of Asheville and UNC Asheville’s NEMAC have been working together for the past seven years, largely collaborating on flood reduction and stormwater work.
Representatives from the City’s Public Works Department, Stormwater Services Division and Office of Sustainability will be on hand at the Nov. 20 open house to talk about the realities of heavy rain events, detail community responses from the city, and discuss options for preventative measures in the future.
“We really want the community’s voice in this discussion,” Ball said. “We want to hear from people who were affected and those who are concerned about what we can expect as we adjust to this new reality.”
The open house will take place Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the RENCI Engagement Site located in the Grove Arcade, Suite 116, One Page Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801.
For more information about this event contact Chief Sustainability Offier Maggie Ullman at (828) 271-6141 or email@example.com.
November 18, 2013