Friends of Connect Buncombe, a nonprofit dedicated to building support for an expanded and connected greenway system across the county, held a series of community meetings in June to get public input on marketing and branding greenways, including the fun brainstorming activity of what to name the trail system.
One of the meetings, of particular interest to the Swannanoa Valley, was held at the Black Mountain Library on June 23. Two FANS board members were among those in attendance at the meeting – its president, Andrew Belz, and Katherine Cross, who also serves on Connect Buncombe’s board.
Several messages came out of this meeting as being important to participants. Foremost was providing opportunities for everyone “from ages 8 to 80” to walk and bike around the Swannanoa Valley off the roadways, and to safely enjoy the natural beauty of our surroundings. Several expressed nostalgia for the days when area residents could do that. Safe pathways to schools, as well as businesses, bus stops, and other destinations, were also emphasized. Tapping into local pride about the beauty, history, and commerce of the Swannanoa Valley would also be an effective marketing tool for greenways, according to meeting participants.
Buncombe County has identified eight potential greenways corridors in its Master Trails and Greenways Plan, including the US 70 corridor through the Swannanoa Valley from Azalea Park in east Asheville to Black Mountain.
A name for the entire connected greenway and trail system, wherever it ends up traversing, has not been agreed upon yet. Ideas are welcome! For more info and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.weconnectbuncombe.org.