The City of Asheville is pleased to announce projects that have received funding from the BCTDA Tourism Product Development Fund. Funding was announced at the Tourism Development Authority Board meeting on October 26. All four of the city’s applications received funding, with the top three priorities receiving funding at 100% of the requested amount. Asheville City Council approved the funding requests at a meeting earlier this year.
Funding requests from the City included:
- Swannanoa River Greenway
- Coxe Avenue Green Street
- Asheville Muni Golf Course Revitalization Phase 1
- WNC Nature Center – Gateway to the Southern Appalachians Enhancement
City of Asheville projects represent 42% of the total investment made by the BCTDA Tourism Product Development Fund. All project applications reinforce Asheville’s sense of place through the preservation of historical community assets, modernization of our cultural destinations, and enhancement of natural amenities.
“This funding supports facilities and experiences that are valued by many of our residents,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer. “These and future infrastructure and quality of life improvements are made possible through partnerships and collaboration, in this case between the City, County, and the TDA. I look forward to more such partnerships in our community.”
City of Asheville Funded Projects
Swannanoa River Greenway
Funded amount: $2,300,000
The largest investment, $2.3 million, will build out the 1.3-mile first phase of the Swannanoa River Greenway starting at Glendale Avenue and Thompson Street then heading east. This spine greenway demands a wide width and amenities such as benches, trashcans, night lighting, and signage. This project leverages the 2016 bond to complete a major east-west connector in the Buncombe County Greenway Master Plan in addition to the greater Hellbender Regional Trail and Fonta Flora State Trail.
“The CIty of Asheville’s Transportation Department is grateful to be a recipient of the TPDF grant for the Swannanoa River Greenway from our partners at the TDA, stated Greenways Coordinator Lucy Crown. “The greenway project is an over one-mile long section of the Swannanoa RIver Greenway project from Glendale Ave. to Bleachery Blvd. The funds will fortify the budget of the construction project, which was in need of additional funds due to rapidly rising construction costs. Without the TPDF funds, we would have needed to break the project into 2 phases that would have taken 5 years to construct. We will now be able to construct the entire project at one time. This will maximize the cost efficiency and minimize the negative environmental and economic impacts of the construction site.This project is the first greenway section expanding our greenway network to the east side of town. The Swannanoa River Greenway is a top priority in the City’s new Greenway Plan in the GAP.”
Coxe Avenue Green Street
Funded amount: $1,950,000
The City of Asheville’s placemaking project will make Coxe Avenue the most walkable street in central Asheville. Through the addition of new public spaces, wider sidewalks, pedestrian-scale lighting, wayfinding, gateway features, and site-specific street furniture, the street will support increased opportunities for public interaction and healthy lifestyles. This project leverages City funds that are appropriated for new stormwater systems and green infrastructure improvements to reduce and support infill development.
“The CIty of Asheville’s Planning and Urban Design Department is grateful to be a recipient of the TPDF grant for the Coxe Avenue Green Street project from our partners at the BCTDA. City staff believes this project will help develop Coxe Avenue into the most walkable street in central Asheville expanding and enhancing Asheville’s open spaces enjoyed by our community and its visitors.” stated Stephanie Dahl.
Asheville Muni Golf Course Revitalization Phase I
Funded amount: $1,641,425
$1.64 million was dedicated to the first phase of revitalization for the Asheville Municipal Golf Course. Known as Muni, this course, designed in 1927 by famed architect Donald Ross, is on the National Register of Historic Places and home to the longest running African American golf tournament in the United States and is important to both the community and visitors of Asheville.
“The TPDF investment from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority showcases a commitment to the Muni Golf Course from both local tax base and taxes collected by our visitors. This course is a true asset available and loved by locals and our out of town guests alike,” says Regional Entertainment Director Chris Corl.
WNC Nature Center – Gateway to the Southern Appalachians Enhancement
Funded amount: $576,000
The West North Carolina (WNC) Nature Center will be improving their facilities through a series of renovations that will increase financial stability and make more space for the animals. This includes expanding its domestic farming, increasing operating hours for after-hours events and additional space for event rental opportunities. The WNC Nature Center is an important family attraction for the community and visitors.
“By funding our “Gateway to the Southern Appalachians enhancement”, the TDA continues its investment in the WNC Nature Center,” says WNC Nature Center Director Chris Gentile. “This new enhancement will allow us to greatly expand our guest amenities and further advance our excellence in animal health and welfare.”
Support of these projects underscores the important partnership between the city and the BCTDA. The BCTDA is fulfilling its mission to be a leader in the economic development of Buncombe County by dedicating lodging tax revenue to investments that make the community a better place to live and visit.