The Swannanoa River, winding through the beautiful Swannanoa Valley to its confluence with the French Broad River in Asheville, is a tremendous community asset that could become an environmental and recreational focal point for our area. Efforts are now underway to develop the plans and resources needed to create a greenway along or near the river.  You are invited to learn more about these efforts and offer your support.  Working together to make this vision a reality, we can unlock the potential of our river resources, bringing benefits to our community and region for generations to come.

Why Swannanoa? Why now?

  • •  Swannanoa is the "missing link" between the greenway systems of Asheville and Black Mountain. In addition to connecting these destinations, a regional greenway would also link to the Mountains to Sea Trail and the trail networks of Montreat, Ridgecrest, and Mount Mitchell.

  • •  There are a number of schools and County facilities along (or near) the river, including W.D. Williams Elementary School, Buncombe Community School East, Asheville Christian Academy, Owen Middle School, Owen High School, Owen Park, Owen District Pool, and the 4H Education Center. A greenway could provide a much-needed connection (and safe transportation route for pedestrians and cyclists) to and between these facilities.

  • •  The County has already purchases flood-damaged parcels along the river, which would be ideal greenway access points or parks.

  • •  Existing utility easements and road rights-of-way may, with the permission of property owners, provide additional greenway routing options.
  • •  A greenway may afford flood reduction benefits.

  • •  Swannanoa is poised for rapid development.  There are still significant parcels of undeveloped land along the river – some of which are for sale.  There are opportunities available today that may be gone tomorrow. 

Benefits to the community:

  • •  Connect destinations to spur the local economy and help revitalize Swannanoa and surrounding areas

  • •  Preserve green space along the river

  • •  Protect water quality by providing stream buffers

  • •  Cleanup of the river and restoration of riparian (river bank) areas, which could reduce downstream flooding

  • •  Provide recreational opportunities such as walking, biking, fishing, etc. to connect people with the land and the river, enhancing quality of life and providing health and fitness benefits

  • •  Build a safe transportation alternative.

  • •  Provide opportunities to educate the community about our region’s natural resources; awareness of the value of our resources will lead to more action in improving and protecting them

  • •  Increase safety of the community as greenway users keep watch over the area

  • •  Strengthen the sense of community by connecting people, neighborhoods, schools, businesses and public facilities

 What’s happening now?

The Swannanoa Greenways Committee meets monthly (or every other month) to work on greenways issues.  Meetings are generally held the third Thursday at 5:00 pm at the Swannanoa Library, 101 West Charleston St., in Grovemont.  Please join us!

Buncombe County established a Greenways Commission in 2008 to develop and implement greenway plans.  Swannanoa has been identified as the top priority area for greenway development in the county.

Equinox Environmental Consultation and Design is conducting a Swannanoa River/US Highway 70 Greenways Feasibility Study thanks to a grant obtained by the Buncombe County Greenways Commission from the NC DOT.  The final report will be issued in May 2010.

Brown and Caldwell Engineering is conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the Swannanoa Valley watershed and identify options for minimizing future flooding.  This study is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2009.

The Swannanoa Greenway Committee is a collaborative effort spear-headed by the Swannanoa Pride Community Coalition and the Asheville Flood Damage Reduction Task Force.  We are working to gather community support and establish partnerships with governments, agencies, and nonprofit organizations that can help realize the Vision.

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PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This map is intended to broadly depict a possible greenway corridor connecting Owen Park with Owen Pool. It is not intended to show actual routing of the greenway, or to identify specific properties that the greenway might cross. No specific routing has been determined. A greenway feasibility study, paid for by a grant received by Buncombe County, is currently underway. If a greenway is eventually developed, it would not cross any private property unless the property owner gave his/her consent.

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