Asheville crew repairs river access point with materials from the river

Fix comes just in time
for kayaking, tubing season


High waters during winter washed away the better part of the river access stairs at Jean Webb Park, as will sometimes happen. This past week, Asheville Parks & Recreation staff went to work and restored the access stairs, using material from the French Broad River itself.

“We used rock that was on the site to block the larger holes in between the steps and then used river sand dredged from the French Broad River just upstream at Harrin’s Sand and Gravel Inc.,” said John Gavin, Parks Planning & Development Manager. In his role, Gavin oversees park maintenance

“We could have used other materials that would have been foreign to the river environment but chose to find a solution that included natural materials that already came from the same river,” he said.

The river access stairs at 30 Riverside Drive, near 12 Bones barbecue, serve kayakers and canoers, even tubers who want to get in the French Broad River for recreation.

It took a day to plan the repair, and $800 worth of materials for the fix. Three City staffers worked one day to render the river access stairs not only usable, but safe.

“This small but significant project is a great example of how caring and responsive City employees are regarding our citizen’s safety,” said Stephanie Monson Dahl, Asheville’s Riverfront Redevelopment Director. “As part of a longer-term plan to redevelop the riverfront, the City’s Interdepartmental Riverfront Office team is partnering with the Wildlife Resources Commission to build or renovate two French Broad River access points — including a rebuild of the Jean Webb Park access — in the next year.”

Dahl also wanted everyone to know that the City recently completed a partnership with RiverLink to build a new river access point at Amboy Road River.

On May 20, the City will provide more information to the public about the next three years of Riverfront Redevelopment activities as part of the community’s celebration of Wilma Dykeman’s Birthday. Dykeman, a beloved local author of “The French Broad,” is the namesake of RiverLink’s comprehensive plan to balance environmental protection and economic development along an urban parkway along Asheville’s riverfront as part of the Wilma Dykeman Riverfront Master Plan.

Find information about the Wilma Dykeman Birthday Celebration here.