City hosts reverse vendor fair April 9

The City of Asheville is excited to invite area vendors interested in doing business with the city to participate in a Reverse Vendor Fair on April 9. This is a great opportunity for vendors to speak directly with city department representatives and to find out more about what contract and bid opportunities the City of Asheville offers. Departments will also provide information about upcoming projects and bidding opportunities. The vendor fair will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center and admission is free.

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Here are more details:

The City of Asheville is excited to invite regional vendors interested in doing business with the city to participate in the second annual Reverse Vendor Fair on April 9. This is a great opportunity for vendors to speak directly with city department representatives and to find out more about what contract and bid opportunities the City of Asheville offers. Departments will also provide information about upcoming projects and bidding opportunities. The vendor fair is a “free” walk through event that will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Additionally, on April 9, City staff members from the Office of Economic Development and the Purchasing Department will conduct a workshop on “The Business of Public Contracting.” The workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Banquet Hall, U.S. Cellular Center. Attendance is free, but RSVP is required by Monday, April 7th, as space is limited.
Workshop will include the following:

· Being an Active Vendor
· Contracting Thresholds & Types
· How Contracts are Bid and Awarded
· How to Find City of Asheville Bidding Opportunities & the City’s Outreach for Minorities & Women Vendors

For more information about the vendor fair and how you can participate and RSVP for the training opportunities on event day, please contact or Brenda Mills at (828) 259-8050 or or Amy Patterson at (828) 259-5953 or Information and updates can be found at the city’s website at

Leave a Comment March 12, 2014

Public input wanted for improvements at Carrier Park’s velodrome

The velodrome at Carrier Park is a popular attraction for bicyclists, walkers, joggers and inline skaters alike. Now the city’s Park and Recreation Department, with the help of community groups, is looking at ways to make the track even better and more accessible to everyone. A March 20 drop-in event will give the public a chance to hear about those improvements and give feedback to city staff. See the full announcement below.


The City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department in collaboration with the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club and VeloSports Racing is hosting a public drop-in event on Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center, located at 285 Livingston Street, to gain input on proposed renovations for the Velodrome at Carrier Park. The proposed renovations, which include resurfacing and increased safety measures, were generated by members of the local cycling community including Olympic silver medalist Lauren Tamayo and United Health Care Pro Cycling Team General Manager Mike Tamayo through a six-month focus group process.

The Velodrome, known to many locals as the “Mellowdrome”, is a multi-use facility located in Carrier Park that is enjoyed by walkers, runners, inline skaters, and cyclists alike. The skill level of cyclists ranges from young children and recreational cyclists to elite athletes training for competition. VeloSports Racing produces “The Ring of Fire”, a popular racing series held at the park.

For more information, contact Debbie Ivester at 259-5804, or

Leave a Comment March 12, 2014

UNC Asheville announces greenway linkage at Reed Creek


UNC Asheville has announced the construction of a greenway linking the campus to Reed Creek Greenway, Montford and Downtown. Here’s the exciting announcement:

Greenway Work Begins at 525 Broadway with Support from the Federal Recreational Trails Program and Various Funders
Tuesday, Mar 11th, 2014

ASHEVILLE – With all environmental, archaeological and regulatory reviews complete, work will begin this month at 525 Broadway on the Reed Creek Greenway linking UNC Asheville and Montford with downtown. The nine-acre parcel was purchased by the UNC Asheville Foundation in 2012 from TD Bank.

The greenway construction work is made possible by a combination of public and private funding, with financial support coming from a $200,000 grant from the Federal Recreational Trails Program administered by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation; the City of Asheville; the UNC Asheville Foundation; RiverLink, UNC Asheville students; the Montford Neighborhood Association; and most recently, a $30,000 grant from the Glass Foundation, a private family foundation based in Asheville, and a $30,000 grant from the Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

“UNC Asheville is so grateful to all of our partners, public and private, including the Glass Foundation and the individual donors who have helped make this possible,” said Buffy Bagwell, UNC Asheville vice chancellor for university advancement. “We are excited to be starting construction on the greenway.”

“A lot has been done already to clean up and stabilize the property,” said John Pierce, treasurer of the UNC Asheville Foundation. “Now with the reviews complete and funding in place, we can complete the greenway and associated landscaping and site work so students, bikers, runners and walkers can have a great way to get back and forth from downtown.”

“RiverLink is so excited to be adding yet another ‘missing link’ in the greenway system that will begin to connect UNC Asheville to the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay and the river greenway system we have been developing and promoting since 1994,” said Karen Cragnolin, executive director of RiverLink. “Our Deeds of Support have been a vital tool in developing greenways and at $50 a foot it’s a great value to help ensure that forever we will have some green, multimodal public space in our city.”

“The public-private partnership has made this possible,” said Roderick Simmons, City of Asheville director of parks and recreation. “The city has long supported greenway development and multimodal transportation. Once work is complete we hope to see lots of folks making use of the greenway.”

J.L.S. Company LLC has been selected as contractor for the work. Completion is expected by June 2014.

See more on the Reed Creek Greenway here.

Leave a Comment March 11, 2014

Montford Center reopens gym after renovations, celebration March 13

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.

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

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

The climbing wall got a new coat of textured paint that better simulates rock

For information about programs at the Montford Center, go to

Leave a Comment March 4, 2014

Removal of Haywood Street parking facility set to begin March 11

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

Leave a Comment February 27, 2014

Pedestrian and traffic improvements coming to Five Points neighborhood

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.

Leave a Comment February 26, 2014

Look for your Recycle and Win sticker in the mail!

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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.

Leave a Comment February 20, 2014

Asheville Police Explorer Scouts win second place in national competition


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

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Leave a Comment February 11, 2014

Asheville Fire Chief, Water Director tapped for top Professional Association roles

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.

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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.


Leave a Comment February 10, 2014

Azalea Road project improves flood management, park access

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 of the 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),

What’s next?

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.

Leave a Comment February 5, 2014

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