Beginning January 1, 2015, Asheville Redefines Transit will begin offering service on Sundays and improved service to the Emma and Oakley sections of Asheville.
“Sunday service is at the top of our list for enhancements to the system, and was included as a high priority in the Transit Master Plan,” said Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry. “This will provide riders more options to get to their workplace and to make needed trips on Sunday.”
Sunday service earned the highest scores in a 2008 Rider Survey and in a follow up survey conducted in 2013. The addition of Sunday service means that ART will operate every day of the year except Christmas, Thanksgiving Day and Easter.
Asheville City Council approved funding for the change in the 2014/2015 budget and the step meets the city’s goals of constant improvement and excellent service as well as Council’s Strategic Goal of supporting multimodal transportation.
“The City’s commitment to increased service will make a major impact on the daily lives of thousands of people,” said Adam Charnack, Vice-Chair of Asheville’s Transit Committee. “Investments like these attract even more riders and we look forward to building on this momentum.”
As part of the implementation of these changes, the City of Asheville will host a public meeting to receive comments and feedback on Wednesday, August 20 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. in the 4th Floor Training Room of the Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza. The meeting will be a drop-in format to take public comment on the most effective times and routes for these improvements.
The meeting will also address changes in response to rider requests that the ART operate direct routes from downtown to the Oakley and Emma areas.
The public can weigh in on changes to the ART system at this online survey or submit comments by August 25, 2014, to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Mariate Echeverry, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Asheville, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville NC 28802.
Paper surveys are also being distributed and collected at the ART Station and in the Emma community to gather as much feedback as possible.
Since the Transit Master Plan launch in 2008, enhancements outlined in that plan have been implemented as funding is secured. Service enhancements that have been implemented include new branding, increased frequency on major corridors, holiday service, increased service on Tunnel Road, 10 new shelters, route schedule improvements and the launch of the NextBus arrival notification system.
For more information about Asheville Transit call (828) 253-5691, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.ridetheart.com.
August 14, 2014
This spring, the City of Asheville Fire Department took up a nation-wide challenge to see which of its three battalions, throughout the department’s 12 stations, could make the biggest reduction in energy use over a three-month period. With the results tallied in June, the winner is Battalion 2 with a total energy reduction of 12% over last year’s numbers at Stations 2, 3, 6 and 10. But the big winner was the department as a whole and the City of Asheville, as the friendly competition offset 24 tons of greenhouse gasses and saved the AFD $2000 in energy costs.
The Chief’s Energy Challenge is a nationwide effort issued by the fire departments of Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh inviting fire departments to reduce their energy use by 10% in one year, and 20% by year three.
“The results produced by these battalions is a testimony to the innovative and cost effective ways we can reduce our environmental impact and still maintain a high level of service to the safety of the public,” said AFD Chief Scott Burnette.
The AFD’s participation was a collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, and during the challenge, the Sustainability team worked directly with the department to find ways to cut energy use and costs. Many of those, says Energy Analyst Kerby Smithson, can be used going forward in an effort to beat the one-year 10% goal.
“From LED lights to low-flow shower heads, the steps these firefighters took and the ideas they had were practical and resourceful,” Smithson said. “And it’s really a testament to how we all can affect change by making small changes in our habits, like turning off lights and appliances.”
“We’re happy to be able to move forward with these steps,” said Lt. Angie Bell at Station 10. “It is an eye opener to see how these things add up to a real impact in savings.”
The results of the Chief’s Energy Challenge were recorded by the Office of Sustainability and reported to the Chief’s Energy Challenge North Carolina organizers.
August 6, 2014
Follow along with 123 Graffiti Free! A new online dashboard tracks the City of Asheville’s progress on the 123 Graffiti Free cleanup assistance initiative. The dashboard, produced in collaboration between the city’s Public Works and IT Services Departments, displays the number of graffiti cleanup requests, the number of cases completed and the amount of money the City of Asheville has spent so far.
Through September 30, the city is offering property owners $500 in graffiti cleanup assistance as part of the 123 Graffiti Free cleanup initiative, and Asheville City Council has allocated $300,000 toward the cleanup effort. As of August 5, there were with 62 cleanup requests completed and in all cases of private property requests, the city’s $500 investment has covered the entire cost of removal or repainting with no money required from property owners.
Graffiti harms communities, and removing graffiti from property within 48 hours has been shown to be a deterrent to vandals. Report graffiti on public property or request cleanup assistance on private property with the Asheville App, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (828) 259-5960.
August 5, 2014
The Asheville Police and Fire Departments and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, with the sponsorship support of Target, Inc., will host a local National Night Out (NNO) kick-off event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5.
NNO is a nationwide, annual crime prevention and community policing event. NNO events are designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community-law enforcement collaboration by promoting crime prevention.
The local kick off will be held at Carrier Park on Amboy Road in West Asheville.
Neighborhoods are invited to participate in the family oriented kick off celebration, which will feature food, a raffle of prizes provided by Target including 20 inch bikes (two for girls and two for boys), backyard games with law enforcement officers and public safety vehicles. KISS FM/99.9 and LEAF and the Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab will be at the event to provide entertainment for kids and adults. Public safety officers will be available to offer tips and facts about crime prevention.
After the kick off, neighbors are encouraged to return home to hold community oriented events in their neighborhood. Local law enforcement officers are available year-round to help neighborhoods develop strategies to build community and neighborhood solidarity against crime.
This year’s sponsorship is part of the ongoing support that Target, Inc. provides to local law enforcement agencies and community groups throughout the country.
Click below for video about National Night Out.
For more information about local National Night Out activities and ongoing crime prevention strategies, contact Natalie Bailey, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, at Natalie.Bailey@buncombecounty.org or 250-4469 or Keith McCulloch, City of Asheville Crime Prevention Officer at email@example.com or 259-5834.
In the event of bad weather, please check the Recreation Weather Hotline to see if the event will take place as scheduled. The Weather Hotline number is 251-4082.
For more information about the national initiative, visit http://www.nationalnightout.org/nno/.
July 31, 2014
Two Public Works employees and one retired Finance Department employee were recognized by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s North Carolina chapter for outstanding service and the pursuit of excellence at Asheville City Council’s July 22 meeting.
Public Works Administrative Assistant Kathi Willis was recognized with the Association’s President’s Award for her dedication to the Association and “her continuing efforts and work with the North Carolina Chapter Executive Board.” This is the second time Willis’ efforts have been recognized with this award, having won it previously in 2010. Chapter President Russell Byrd cited her character, organizational skills, her willingness to go beyond what is expected and her incredible ability to keep the chapter “on-task and in-line.”
Willis has worked at the City of Asheville since 1991 and took over the role of the APWA-NC Chapter secretary in 2008.
“Kathi Willis is a true professional in every sense of the word,” Byrd told Council. “Without Kathi’s invaluable contributions our chapter would not and could not be one of the finest in the association.”
The Association also recognized Construction Inspector Lee Morrison with the Association’s Municipal Employee Scholarship. Morrison works with the Capital Projects Management (Engineering) Division and has been with the City of Asheville since 2006. He has been attending classes to advance his knowledge of service and excellence and is nearing completion of coursework to earn the designation of NC Road Scholar, a program offered through the Institute of Transportation, Research and Education. In addition to his studies and workload, he is also a lieutenant at a local volunteer fire department and an Eagle Scout.
Lyle Willis, retired from the position of Contract Administrator in Purchasing Division of the city’s Finance Department, was awarded the Jean Seals Service Award, given in recognition for contributions by non-members for their support of the Association. Mr. Willis, husband of Kathi Willis, was cited for his attendance at APWA-NC events and his support of Kathi in her role. He worked at the city of Asheville for 23 years before his retirement in 2013.
All three were presented their awards at the 57th annual Conference of the American Public Works Association, North Carolina Chapter in June.
Click below to see the presentation to Asheville City Council.
July 25, 2014
On Monday, July 21, work will begin on the Craven Street improvement project in west Asheville, a long-term enhancement that will include multi-modal roadway improvements including pedestrian and bike facilities, stormwater Best Management Practices and stream restoration, low impact parking and greenway construction and water line improvements. See background on this project at the City of Asheville Project Page.
The duration of the project will last from July 21, 2014 through December of 2015. The majority of the roadway work will take place during the next 6 months. As this is an active construction project, there will be heavy construction equipment in the area for the duration of the project.
During the remainder of July and the beginning of August, work will focus on clearing and grubbing activities, placement of the stormwater conveyance systems and other utilities, and existing asphalt removal. The project also involves a comprehensive improvement to the unnamed creek that starts along Waynesville Avenue and drains through the New Belgium Brewery site into the French Broad River.
Full road closures are not expected during this initial phase of the project, though delays and lane closures can be anticipated. Travelers are advised to use alternate routes where possible.
Beginning August 25, work will expand into roadway culvert improvements with Craven Street closed in the direction Haywood Road for the duration of work, which is expected to last until the end of September.
The Craven Street improvement project is located in the area surrounding the New Belgium Brewery construction site and is the City of Asheville’s portion in a public-private partnership with The State of North Carolina, North Carolina Golden Leaf Foundation, NCDOT, Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Buncombe County, the Economic Development Administration, and the Asheville–Buncombe Economic Development Coalition and others in support of New Belgium Brewing’s investment of $175 million in our community.
July 18, 2014
***UPDATE*** Nova and Wayah have acclimated to their new home and their exhibit is now open for WNC Nature Center visitors to view!
Calling them Wolf One and Wolf Two just won’t do, so the gray wolf pups that joined the WNC Nature Center in June have gotten their names. The female (and lighter colored pup) is named Nova, while the male goes by the name Wayah.
The two pups came to the WNC Nature Center from a facility in Bozeman, Montana when they were two months old. They have since been through a quarantine period and have been introduced to the gray wolf exhibit to meet and acclimate to the center’s existing gray wolf female Shalimar. Once that introduction period is through, the wolves will be on display to the public.
The search for the two pups came after the Center’s male gray wolf Cody was euthanized in April following his declining health due to cancer.
Gray wolves are highly social animals, says WNC Nature Center Director Chris Gentile, and introducing new animals to the exhibit was important of the health and well being of Shalimar.
And anyway, it is a pleasure to be able to welcome new guests at the WNC Nature Center. Alongside the wolf pups’ arrival, the Center recently celebrated the addition of two new barn owls, new baby goats and several young chickens.
Find out more about the WNC Nature Center at www.wncnaturecenter.com.
July 15, 2014
It’s sign up time! July 1 marks the beginning of the City of Asheville’s 90-day graffiti removal assistance program, and property owners are now encouraged to call, email or use the Asheville App to sign up for up to $500 in removal assistance.
The cleanup assistance program runs through September 30, with a goal of removing as much graffiti from Asheville as possible in that time.
Here’s how property owners can report graffiti and sign up for removal assistance:
Use the Asheville App (ashevillenc.gov/ashevilleapp), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (828) 259-5960.
City staff will visit the site and estimate the cost of removal
The property owner signs a waiver and agrees to pay all costs over the City’s $500 investment ($500 per building per incident)
The City contacts a pre-qualified contractor to remove graffiti, who will aim to remove graffiti within 48 hours
The City pays the contractor and bills the property owner for any amount over $500
After September 30, property owners will be responsible for removing graffiti from their property within seven days. At the request of property owners, the city will coordinate cleanup with a pre-qualified contractor, but the property owner will be responsible for the entire cleanup cost. That’s why getting on the list for the 90-day removal assistance program is such a great opportunity for property owners!
“We know that quick removal is one of the best deterrents to vandalism,” said Cathy Ball, the city’s Executive Director of Planning and Multimodal Transportation. “That’s why the goal of the 90-day assistance program is to remove graffiti throughout the city and get us back to a baseline. Working together as a community, we can make a real impact on graffiti vandalism.”
This is the second step of the 123 Graffiti Free initiative directed at a comprehensive approach to tackling graffiti. The first step took place in April, when Asheville City Council passed new civil fines for offenders.
Graffiti hurts the community, businesses and business growth. It reduces property values and can lead to increased crime activity. Report graffiti vandalism in progress by calling 911. To report graffiti vandalism on city-owned property, call (828) 252-1110 or use the Asheville App. To report tagging in Buncombe County, call (828) 250-6670.
Find more information about Asheville’s 123 Graffiti Free Initiative on the Projects Page.
July 11, 2014
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 email@example.com.
July 10, 2014
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 9, 2014