In an effort to ensure everyone has a fun and safe Halloween, the Asheville Police Department has these safety tips:
Safety at Home:
• Turn on exterior home light
• Keep walkways free of obstructions
• Don’t allow anyone in your home that you don’t know
• Choose bright colored costumes. If dark colored costumes are selected, affix reflective tape for visibility
• Consider using makeup rather than a mask. Masks reduce peripheral vision and present a hazard to children wearing them
• If masks are used, cut eye holes large enough to provide improved vision
• On the inside of the costume, affix the child’s name, address and phone number
• Plan out a route that will be followed
• Cross streets at intersections, never mid-block or from between parked cars
• Walk on sidewalks when provided. If they aren’t available, consider a different route or walk facing the flow of traffic
• Parents, remind children that you need to inspect all candy before they eat it
• Increase visibility by providing children with a functioning flashlight or glow stick
• Never take shortcuts across alleys, back yards or fields
• Instruct children not to enter strange cars or homes
• Avoid Trick-or-Treating in areas and homes with which you are not familiar
Treat Safety and Other Tips
Treats – Don’t Forget the Safety Check
• Check for loose or tampered packaging
• Discard open candy and fruit
• If fruit is to be eaten, wash and cut it into small bite-sized portions to allow for internal inspection
• Avoid consuming homemade treats unless a parent can be certain of the source
Other tips to stay safe
• Attend public activities such as trunk-or-treat
• Host a family function
• Organize a neighborhood block party
• Have a safe, enjoyable time
• To avoid creating a monster, don’t let children eat all of their candy at once!
October 31, 2013
The Biltmore Avenue Parking garage, situated beneath the Aloft Hotel and opened in August of 2012, has been recognized among the region’s best by the Carolinas Parking Association.
Earning an award of merit in the category of New Design, the garage was recognized alongside parking garages from throughout the region.
“This is a really exciting development in a garage that was situated in a dense area of downtown yet nearly tripled available public parking there,” said the city’s Transportation Director Ken Putnam.
The construction was the result of a collaboration between the City of Asheville, Aloft owners the McKibbon Group, and Public Interest Projects, who owned the property – a partnership that resulted in a construction savings of $2.66 million to the City of Asheville and resulted in a parking garage in a corner of downtown with limited parking options, a need identified in a 2008 parking study.
The City of Asheville maintains four parking garages with a total of 1444 parking spaces in downtown Asheville, including the garage at Biltmore Avenue and decks at Rankin Street, Wall Street and behind the U.S. Cellular Center. Except in cases of special event rates, the first hour is free when parking in any of these garages, with each additional hour $1.00.
Click here for more about the City of Asheville parking services.
More from the CoABlog:
Aloft hotel opening marks great public/private partnership
October 31, 2013
Looking for a great 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, in the interest of engaging with the public, 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: Recreation Advisory Board
Formed in: 1964
Number of members: Nine
Term: Three years
With more than 60 parks and facilities, the City of Asheville’s parks and recreation system represents the city’s third largest budget item. Thousands of people enjoy the city’s parks or participate in recreational programs hosted a community centers and special facilities each week, and the parks represent some of the most visible resources offered by the City of Asheville.
The Recreation Advisory Board takes on a host of responsibilities that add to the city’s ever growing network of public recreational spaces.
“I think it’s incredible that we have so many facilities in a city this size,” says board chair Wayne Wheeler.
Wheeler, who has served on the Recreation Advisory Board since 2009, has seen recommendations cross Asheville City Council’s desk such as the ban on smoking in city parks, and says serving on a board or commission is an excellent way to learn more about Asheville. “I think it’s good for citizens to get involved,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot about Asheville, parks and recreation and other parts of the city just by being part of this.”
In the past couple of years, the Recreation Advisory Board deliberated and voted on issues from greenway expansion to design plans for the Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center to deferred maintenance projects in city parks.
“Asheville’s parks are a remarkable community resource,” says Debbie Ivester, Assistant Director of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. “And the Recreation Advisory Board is an excellent example of how community leaders can have very visible results.”
The City of Asheville is currently advertising for applicants for the Recreation Advisory Board as well as the ABC Board and the Police Advisory Committee. Applications are due by November 6. 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.
October 30, 2013
On Tuesday, October 29, the city tragically lost a member of the Asheville Police Department family in the line of duty. Officer Bingaman was driving across the French Broad River when the patrol vehicle he was driving left the Captain Jeff Bowen Bridge. Despite the great efforts of emergency personnel and APD officers who responded to the scene, Officer Bingaman succumbed to his injuries. Our prayers and deepest condolences are with Officer Bingaman’s family. He honorably served his country as a member of the Marine Corps and his city as a well respected police officer.
We ask that the community keep Officer Bingaman in their prayers as well as his family, friends and the officers he worked alongside to keep our community safe. We also ask that you keep the Asheville Police Department in your thoughts and prayers. It goes without saying that this is a great loss for the department, the City of Asheville and our community as a whole.
Funeral services for SPO Bingaman have been set for Monday, November 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at Biltmore Baptist Church, 35 Clayton Road, Arden. Interment will follow at Western NC Veteran’s Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC.
Morris Funeral Home of Asheville is coordinating the arrangements. Here is a link to SPO Bingaman’s obituary with Morris Funeral Home with directions to each location. Please take time to share a memory or thought for Rob’s family.
October 30, 2013
On a crisp but sunny October afternoon, a small group of business owners, artists and project coordinators watched as a crane lowered a new pedestrian bridge over a ravine adjacent to Jean Webb Park on Riverside Drive.
The bridge marks the first new infrastructure installed in the Wilma Dykeman Riverway plan, a sweeping plan for enhancing and preserving the area along the French Broad River that encompasses transportation, land use, economic development and riverfront conservation.
At 40 feet long, the bridge is the product of collaboration and great community leadership on the part of the Asheville Design Center and its Summer Design Build Program, which brings in students from around the country to create innovative solutions to community needs.
Because of this partnership, the city was able to receive this pedestrian enhancement at a relatively low cost of $25,000 in city funding.
“Calling this a bridge doesn’t do it justice. It is really a new public space along the riverfront that happens to span a creek,” says Design Build Studio Project Manager Luke W. Perry. “Thanks to the City of Asheville, the Asheville Design Center, the surrounding community and the students from the team, we now have a beautiful new gathering spot that will serve as a catalyst in bringing our city closer to the river.”
A quick celebration for the opening of the bridge will take place on Thursday November 14, 2013, at 3:00 pm.
Meanwhile, across Riverside Drive and in sight of the new bridge, an iconic and highly-visible smokestack at the location of the now-razed ice house, is getting a restoration job as workers re-point the mortar joints on the antique structure. Atop a cherry picker 85 feet in the air, masons are replacing the mortar that has eroded from the stack.
The restoration, needed to make the smokestack safe and to preserve it for the coming years, came at the request several community partners and with the support of Asheville City Council.
The ice house was purchased by the City of Asheville after public safety concerns and was demolished in February. But several voices, including those from the River Arts District Business Association, the WECAN Neighborhood and the city’s Riverfront Commission supported preserving the smokestack for its historic and wayfinding value. As the community works to guide the area and plan for coming changes and economic development, the city is working to preserve the unique architectural features of the River District.
October 30, 2013
Autumn has arrived in full, and in Asheville that means admiring the brightly colored fall foliage. There’s no shortage of trees for leaf-lookers to soak in autumn’s display. And as long as our attention is on trees, it is a great time to dive into the Asheville Tree Map, an online crowd-sourced tool that seeks to identify and map trees in city and provide easily searchable info on the city’s tree stock.
Customized by the city’s Information Technology Services and the Tree Commission from open source software, the online map is designed to increase knowledge of trees in the area, highlight their benefits to the community and enhance the way we think about trees.
The tree map lets users search and find trees at their favorite locations
“The tree map is an exciting way to get people engaged with tree issues, and the user-friendly concept seems to inspire people to check it out,” says Tree Commission chair Mike Kenton. “For anyone interested in tree ID, assessing the health of their tree or a tree they care about, and especially learning about the environmental and financial benefits of trees in the Asheville area, it’s an excellent tool.”
Asheville Tree Map allows any user to log the location, type and size of trees in their area, adding to data already supplied by others in the community. On the flip side, users can search the ever growing tree database, search for types of fruit or flowering trees and view the environmental impact of Asheville’s tree population. Compiled numbers show the most common trees and individual markers show each tree’s characteristics and facts like how much air pollution each tree removes.
Essential numbers, like the positive environmental impact of trees, is updated on the tree map as new data is added
“There are enough trees in the city limits, from street trees to those in our back yards, that it would be impossible for one person to log all of them,” says city GIS Analyst Dave Michelson. “This is an excellent example of where crowd sourcing can work for the benefit of everyone. The more people involved, the better the map.”
In all, the map currently identifies information on 6,319 trees in and around Asheville. Many of those have been logged by the city’s arborist Mark Foster. Additionally, the Tree Commission and a group of volunteers celebrated the soft launch of the technology in March with a tree mapping party at Riverside Cemetery, logging some 100 trees. The commission hopes that more such parties will evolve from Asheville’s community as people begin to explore the application.
“Asheville’s Open Tree Map offers unparalleled opportunities to visualize and manage our urban forest,” said Commission member Amy Kemp. “It is not only supportive of the City’s tree management activities but offers the ability to calculate the economic and environment impact of the city’s trees, whether on public or private property.”
Because the Asheville Tree Map was developed using already available open-source software, Michelson said that customizing an Asheville-specific application took less staff time and effort that starting one from scratch. Michelson said that IT Services is also keeping an eye out for mobile app options to expand the tree map onto hand-held devices.
To access the Asheville Tree Map, go to http://ashevilletreemap.org.
October 28, 2013
This exciting announcement comes from the WNC Nature Center:
Round up your favorite ghouls and goblins and head out to the Western North Carolina Nature Center on Saturday, October 26, 10:00 am–6:00 pm for the annual HOWL-O-WEEN event. Enjoy the season with a walk through the Creepy Crawler Cabin along with a variety of crafts and activities. Kids are invited to dress in costume and take part in the ever popular costume parade and contest at 5:00 pm.
Come climb the new Arachnid Adventure Playground at the WNC Nature Center
New at this year’s HOWL-O-WEEN is the grand opening of the Arachnid Adventure Playground, a web of climbing and play for kids and adults. The Arachnid Adventure Playground officially opens at 11:00 am with a grand opening ceremony at the playground. Along with the playground, the newly expanded red wolf exhibit will be open for the first time featuring incredible views of the world’s most endangered canine.
All activities are included with paid admission to the Nature Center. Admission: adults $8 ($6 for Asheville residents), senior citizens $7 ($5 for Asheville residents), youth ages 3-15 $4, and children age 2 and under are free.
For more information including directions and special programs visit the Nature Center website at www.wncnaturecenter.com
The WNC Nature Center features over 220 animals native to the Southern Appalachians including red wolves, otters, birds of prey, black bears, and reptiles. The Nature Center is a service of the City of Asheville and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
October 25, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
October is Fire Prevention month, and the week of October 6-13 is a week to focus on fire prevention. The Asheville Fire Department has kicked it off with these tips for preventing kitchen fires:
It’s time for Fire Prevention Week, and from October 6-12 the Asheville Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to ‘Prevent Kitchen Fires.’ During this year’s fire safety campaign, fire departments will be spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires–most of which result from unattended cooking—and teaching local residents how to prevent kitchen fires from starting in the first place.
According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries.
“Often when we’re called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes,” said Kelley Klope, PIO. “Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach folks in the community before they’ve suffered a damaging lesson.”
Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing:
· Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
· If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
· When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
· If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
· When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
· Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn, away from your stovetop.
· Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
As part of Fire Safety Month, AFD will be presenting the Fire Safety Trailer to the following schools, dates and times:
Oct. 2 Haw Creek Elementary 8:30am – 10am
Oct. 3 Vance Elementary 10am-12pm
Oct. 7 Bell Elementary 8:30am-10am
Oct. 9 Sandhill Venable TBA
Oct. 10 Hall Fletcher 9:30am-11:30am
Oct. 14 Oakley Elementary 8:30am-10:30am
Oct. 21 Francine Delany 8:30am-10am
Oct. 23 Jones Elementary 8:30am-12:30pm
Oct. 22 Estees Elementary 8:30am-12pm
Oct. 29 Claxton Elementary 10am-12pm
Oct. 30 Isaac Dickson TBA
Media is invited to attend. Please contact Kelley Klope, PIO at 828-768-1437 with questions regarding Fire Prevention Week/Month.
October 2, 2013
***UPDATE*** Click below for a video showing how this great piece was installed!
A new chapter in the 4-year renovation and updating of the U.S. Cellular Center begins this week with the installation of a new terrazzo floor in the lobby of the Thomas Wolfe Theater.
The public artwork, designed by artist Joan Weissman, will be a vibrant addition to the U.S. Cellular Center, enhancing the experience for visitors while preserving the architectural feel of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and Asheville’s Art Deco style.
Artist Joan Weissman's design for the terrazzo floor at the U.S. Cellular Center
“The goal was to respect and refer to the site’s structural and decorative details, while adding a fresh and dramatic new focal point,” Weissman says.
Weissman was selected from a pool of 50 artists who responded to the City of Asheville’s call for artists in April. The call for artists was open to artists both local and national and who had experience in terrazzo floor design. Three finalists were selected, and a panel consisting of local artists and representatives from the City of Asheville and the Public Art and Culture Commission brought its recommendation before the full Commission for approval.
Noted for her rug designs, Weissman also creates designs for terrazzo floors, tapestries and fabrics. Her work has been featured in Interior Design, Hali, Western Interiors, Paris Home and Veranda. Her floor designs can be found at the University of New Mexico Center for the Arts and in the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion.
Like Weissman’s design, the floor installation itself incorporates a new vision with a historical component: Asheville Tile, the company performing the installation, represents three generations of work in the city. Owner Ronnie Smith’s father Albert laid the original lobby floor when the Civic Center was constructed in 1974, and Smith’s grandfather installed the mosaic on the front of Asheville City Hall.
“It’s really a neat thing to see this kind of family tradition being carried out in person,” says U.S. Cellular Center General Manager, Chris Corl. The installation, Corl says, is being recorded in the form of a time-lapse video that will be posted online when the project is complete in mid-September.
The City of Asheville remains dedicated to providing public art that enhances and confirms the city’s artistic culture and creative economy.
“This public art project perfectly illustrates how art creates economic opportunity that ripples through the community, providing opportunities for local companies and craftspeople,” said Debbie Ivester, assistant director of the City of Asheville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.
The installation of the U.S. Cellular Center’s terrazzo floor is part of an ongoing $12 million renovation of the facility. Needed roof repairs, restroom updates, box office redesign and other enhancements have already been completed. Funding for the renovations comes from the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, the Tourism Development Authority and U.S. Cellular. Ongoing projects include the expansion of convention and box seating spaces and the exterior lobby entrance. The enhancements are a large part of attracting new business and events like the SoCon Basketball Championships to Asheville.
More from the coablog:
U.S. Cellular Center prepares for audience of conferences and trade shows
October 1, 2013