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A study is currently underway to explore the feasibility of constructing a greenway connecting Swannanoa with Asheville and Black Mountain. Greenways are narrow corridors of open space, with pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians. Greenways often follow natural land or water features (such as the Swannanoa River), and provide economic, environmental, recreation, and health and safety benefits to the community.
The greenway feasibility study is being conducted by Equinox Environmental, a consulting firm hired by the County to look at the opportunities, obstacles and costs of constructing a greenway. The study area stretches from Point Lookout Trail in Ridgecrest to Azalea Road/US 70 in Asheville, a distance of about 11 miles.
The County held a public meeting about the feasibility study on May 20 at the Lakeview Senior Center in Black Mountain. Representatives from the County and Equinox Environmental were on hand to explain the study and answer questions. Residents were also given the opportunity to write comments, ideas and concerns on large-scale maps of the study area. If you were unable to attend the meeting and would like to see a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, please click here.
Lucy Crown, Greenways Planner with Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreation Services, explained that the feasibility study is just the first step in a long process of creating a greenway. Once the study is completed later this summer, many more steps — including getting approval from the County Commission to move forward, acquiring property rights, and obtaining funding — would remain before any construction could begin.
Greenways are often built on a mixture of private and public lands. Land can be acquired through donations of easements or through purchases. Some local residents have expressed concern that private property might be condemned to construct the greenway. “This is not the case,” said Ms. Crown. She said the greenway will not cross any private property unless the landowner agrees. “We want the greenway to be a positive thing for the whole community, and having good relationships with landowners is essential.”
If you have questions or would like more information about the greenway study, contact Lucy Crown at 250-4260 or Paul Muller, Swannanoa Greenways Committee, at 686-8763. The next meeting of the Swannanoa Greenways Committee is Thursday, July 22 at 5:00 pm at the Swananaoa Library, 101 W. Charleston Avenue.