A new City of Asheville website is slated to launch in the first quarter of 2017.
As we begin a new year, let’s look ahead to five City of Asheville projects our residents will notice in 2017. Guided by City Council’s 2036 Vision, these focus areas of equity in City services are led by Council policy and implemented by staff.
By an overwhelming margin, Asheville voters approved 3 bond issues in the November 8 general election. A lot of research went into planning for the initiative. In 2017, the real work begins.
City staff looks forward to our role in delivering quality projects to the Asheville community. Over the next few months staff will focus on developing project plans, schedules and communication tools. Project progress will be communicated through different tools and community meetings over the course of the next 7 years including quarterly updates to City Council.
Find more information at these links:
Bonds planning presentation to Asheville City Council Dec. 13, 2016
Asheville voters approve bonds; now improvements can begin
As projects gear up residents can find information about potential traffic impacts through the Waze app, as the City of Asheville recently partnered with the traffic app to provide official information.
New website coming
Communication with Asheville’s citizens serves as a key component to effective governance and in the new year the City will deploy a new website, chocked full of helpful information. A key component will be the searchability the new site will offer, and the search bar will be a prominent feature. The City’s new website will also feature easy-to-use mega menus — with titles such as Our City, Live, Work, Play — as well as icon links for the most visited pages on our site. Calendar of Events and Transparency portals will be prominent on the home page as well, making information about government meetings and documents more accessible than ever.
“Staff is always looking for ways to make access to information easier and more intuitive,” said Dawa Hitch, Director of Communication & Public Engagement. “The new website has great graphics and will be much easier to navigate on smart phones.”
Look for the City’s new website to launch in the first quarter of 2017.
Equity program to move forward
Asheville City Council identified a diverse community as 1 of 8 key focus areas in the 2036 Vision City Council crafted in January 2016.
In support of this focus area, Council set aside money in the City’s 2016-2017 budget toward equity efforts. This includes the hiring of an Equity Manager. This position would be dedicated to helping the City achieve meaningful progress by evaluating delivery of programs and services and its decision-making on how to expand equity.
As part of the City of Asheville’s efforts to expand equity, residents are being asked to weigh in on the specific skills necessary for an Equity Manager position to be successful.
Staff held two public input meetings to discuss this position in December. A third meeting is planned for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Grant Southside Center, 285 Livingston Ave. In addition, residents can weigh in on the City’s online engagement platform Open City Hall Asheville.
The plan is to have the Asheville position filled by May.
RADTIP goes big
In 2016, Asheville residents saw tangible results of the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project as utility relocation began in the RAD adjacent to the French Broad River. The Craven Street improvements were completed and a half-mile section of the French Broad River West Greenway opened.
In 2017, Tiger VI construction will begin. What does this mean? The City is moving toward actual road construction, widening and straightening of Lyman Street and Riverside Drive that include additions of bike lanes and sidewalks to make moving through Asheville’s popular River Arts District safer for pedestrians and people on bicycles. The Livingston Complete Streets plan is expected move to the construction phase this year. These projects are made possible with the help of $14.6 million in federal money awarded to the City of Asheville in 2014. Keep up with RADTIP traffic impacts from road construction through the Waze app, as the City of Asheville recently partnered with the traffic app to provide official information.
Riverfront redevelopment initiatives in the new year will include the opening of two new river access points as part of a partnership with the NC Wildlife Resource Commission. The City is also working to open an arts and culture community center on Riverside Drive. Construction is already under way to rehab an historic structure for this center.
Keep up with all things related to RADTIP by visiting ashevillenc.gov/River.
Living Asheville: A Comprehensive Plan for Our Future
Asheville is updating its Comprehensive Plan. Living Asheville: A Comprehensive Plan for Our Future will replace the existing City Development Plan 2025, as the primary tool used by the City to guide its long-term development. The plan will be based on goals set by the community to achieve a vision of what it wants to be.
A series of public meetings on this project happened in 2016, including five neighborhood meetings in December and online engagement through Open City Hall Asheville. Our thanks to the many citizens who have already participated! Led by the City’s Planning and Urban Design Department, the next phase is for City planners to use this citizen input to inform a draft plan that will be crafted this winter, then presented to the public in spring/summer 2017.
Key objectives of the Comprehensive Plan Update include setting priorities for appropriate development and the affordability of living in Asheville. A survey also identified economic vibrancy through diversifying the local economy and supporting local entrepreneurship — especially small businesses —as a key priority for the plan.