As we reported in our last e-newsletter, a study is currently underway to explore the feasibility of building a greenway (a narrow corridor of open space, with pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians) connecting Swannanoa with Asheville and Black Mountain. The feasibility study is being conducted by Equinox Environmental, a consulting firm hired by the County, and covers an 11.5 mile area from Point Lookout Trail in Ridgecrest to Azalea Road/US 70 in Asheville.
The County held a public meeting on May 20 to explain the purpose and scope of the feasibility study, and solicit community input on what folks would like to see (or not see) if a greenway is ultimately constructed. At a follow-up public meeting on July 28, residents had the chance to review the feedback from the May meeting, and see maps of the study area that showed a variety of possible greenway routes. Some of the possible routes follow roadbeds (such as US 70) and others are “off road” — following the Swannanoa River or other land features. If you were unable to attend on July 28 and would like to see the maps and other materials that were reviewed at the meeting, please click here.
The presenters emphasized that the study is only looking at possibilities, and that no preferred route has been identified. Much work remains before any actual greenway construction could begin, including getting approval from the County Commission, acquiring property rights, and finding funding. The greenway could be built on a mixture of private and public land, but it will not cross private property without the consent and cooperation of the landowner. Alternative routes have been identified to provide a variety of options for building the greenway.
Public input is an important part of the feasibility study. If you have questions or would like to make suggestions or provide feedback about the greenway study, please contact Lucy Crown (Greenways Planner with Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreation Services) at 250-4260 or Paul Muller (Swannanoa Greenways Committee) at 686-8763. The next meeting of the Swannanoa Greenways Committee is Thursday, September 16, at 5:00 pm at the Swananaoa Library, 101 W. Charleston Avenue. Everyone is welcome.