Wednesday, June 4, 2014

AARRC 2014 Annual Retreat

The Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission held its 2014 Annual Retreat on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. We started @ the Green Sage Cafe in Westgate… Thanks to the CVB for our breakfast! and to Randy Tally for hosting our morning map session. The Grey Line Trolley carried us around to get an overview of progress @ New Belgium Asheville Brewery… then we toured up to Woodfin and back down to the French Broad River Park where we met up with Jason Walls of Duke Energy to walk the new French Broad Connector Greenway land and had lunch provided by the City of Asheville & Laurey's Catering. We surveyed progress on Amboy Road of the Smoky Mountain Adventure Center… then pulled into the parking lot @ the Wedge Brewery to hop on some electric bikes and cruise up Clingman (wow, was that ever easy!) to look at the Clingman Forest Greenway and then back down to hear from Harry Pilos about progress on his RAD Lofts project. Our last stop was 233 Riverside Drive to hear from Kristie Quinn about the Smoky Park Supper Club & Eric Bradford from Greenworks… and our afternoon 2015 ++ visioning session followed by a social happy hour with refreshments provided by the City of Asheville & CURVE studios & garden… Wow, that was a full informative day! Much appreciation to Paul Black of the MPO.. his insights were most helpful! See more photos @on FB @ AVL Riverfront.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Strive Not To Drive Leadership Ride 2014

Special thanks to Asheville on Bikes for bringing focus to the AVL Riverfront during its 2014 Strive Not To Drive Community Leadership Ride… below you can read the 14 point recommendations made by Transit guru, Gil Penalosa, on how St. Paul (substitute Asheville NC) can join the ranks of Paris, Vancouver and Melbourne, Australia, as one of the world's top cities!

14. Make St. Paul great for 8- and 80-year-olds
The young and the old -- along with the poor -- are the "indicator species" in an urban environment because they are the most vulnerable. Redesign our city to keep them safe, healthy and happy, and we'll have a place that works well for everyone.
13. Develop a sense of urgency to make Things better
One of the Twin Cities' biggest problems, Penalosa pointed out, is that things have been pretty good here for a long time. That spawns complacency, which is a serious hindrance in a highly competitive age where change happens fast.
12. Put pedestrians first
"Walking adds the spice to a city, and we don't like a spice-less city any more than we like pasta without sauce." Every trip begins and ends with walking -- we are all pedestrians.
11. Make biking and walking utterly normal
"We need to think of walking and biking as a basic human right," which should be safe, easy and pleasurable for everyone. Start by lowering traffic speeds, giving walkers/bikers a 5-second head start at traffic lights and building crosswalks with "safety islands" in the middle of the street. Let more people bike by building a network of protected bikeways, separated from auto traffic.
10. No traffic deaths by 2025
"In the U.S., 100,000 people are hit by cars every year and 4,000 die." For too long traffic deaths of all kinds have been accepted as inevitable, but now Chicago and New York City are leading the push for zero deaths by taking serious steps to make streets safer.
9. Remember that planning for transportation and land use are the same thing
"Plan a city around cars and you get more cars. Plan a city around people and you get more health and happiness."
8. Focus on making St. Paul great in everything you do
The world's leading authorities on St. Paul are the people who live here -- local leaders should draw upon their expertise about how to make the city great in everything that happens around town. "But remember if you wait for 100 percent approval, you'll never get anything done," Penalosa reminds.
7. Embrace winter
But don't use it an excuse for why things can't be better. "You have 15 horrible days a year and another 30 that are pretty bad. But you have 200 good days. Plan to make the most of those days and the bad days won't be so bad."
6. Become more inclusive
Penalosa admitted that after a number of visits to the Twin Cities, he sometimes thinks he's in Scandinavia. "Every one is blond and blue-eyed at some of the meetings. Then I go to Central High School or the Lake Street light rail station and I see many blacks and other visible minorities." It's crucial that more people are involved in the conversation about making a better future, he says.
5. Attract the Millennial Generation
Penalosa warned that our future is in peril because more Millennials are leaving the Twin Cities than are coming here. "A great city needs to attract and keep the best young people -- the best doctors, the best carpenters, the best musicians, the best in all fields. You should wake up every day thinking up ways to do that." He noted that building more highways and shopping malls will not do the job -- this generation is far less likely to have drivers' licenses or own cars than previous ones.
4. Keep Baby Boomers here
Older adults today are healthier, wealthier, and better educated than at any time in history, and have much to offer our communities. But we must take their needs into account in designing our cities. "Not everyone is 30 and athletic."
3. Shift your aspirations from "good enough" to great
The cities that will lead the world in the future are not making small plans today. "Copenhagen has 38 percent bicyclists but are aiming for 50 percent. Seoul, Korea, covered up a river to build a double-deck freeway but then tore it down to create a park. Vancouver vows to the be world's most sustainable city -- not the best in Canada, or in North America but in the world."
2. Compare yourself to the world's best
It's not outlandish that St. Paul and Minneapolis could be seen as two of the great cities around the globe. "Transformation often happens very fast. Thirty years ago no one would have ranked Melbourne, Australia, as one of the top 400 cities in the world," Penalosa explains. "Even the local newspaper described its downtown as an 'empty, useless city center.' Now many of us think it's one of the top four or five cities." What happened? A concerted effort across the community to enliven the downtown, add more parks and more public spaces.
1. Tackle a big goal

Mayor Coleman is taking Penalosa's advice to heart. For too long we've thought of ourselves as "pretty darn good here," Coleman says -- it's time to make a bolder statement about who we are and where we are going.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Azalea Road / Lake Craig Project Construction

Things are happening along the Swannanoa River. The river banks adjacent to Azalea Road and Gashes Creek road are undergoing a makeover that will not only ease one stream bank at the City of Asheville’s Recreation Park, but will also relocate a section of the Swannanoa to have less impact during high water events. Since December, heavy earth moving equipment has been visible making changes to the landscape in the area that will greatly improve multimodal park access and safety. Click link for more info on the Lake Craig / Azalea Road Flood Management Project.

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Belgium Brewery Groundbreaking

New Belgium Brewery Asheville announces its GroundBreaking Celebration for  Friday, May 2, 2014 @ The Grey Eagle @ 175 Clingman Avenue in the ARAD.  Doors open @ 7pm. Music: Dave Earl & The Plowshares, starts @ 8pm.  Tickets are free but must be picked up in person (to keep this event as local as possible) @ The Grey Eagle Box Office or Harvest Records, starting March 17, 2014.  Limit of 4 tickets per person… thanks!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Downtown Market Sold to Troy & Sons Owners

45 South French Broad Avenue is reported to have been sold to Troy & Charlie Ball, who own Troy & Sons Distilling, for $1.8 million… rumor has it that they will be expanding their spirit making enterprise but in conversation with Lance Hardcastle, who runs The Downtown Market, he said that this real estate deal has been in the works for over a year & assured that TDM is not going anywhere. The connection between Downtown & the AVLriverfront grows ever stronger with another building coming into the hands of creative independent commerce. Good News.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Lighting for the ADC Design Build Workshop Pedestrian Bridge

Thanks to the City of Asheville & Duke Energy for putting up LED lighting for the Asheville Design Center Design Build Workshop Pedestrian Bridge (we need to come up with a better name here, eh?).  As the warm weather returns, more and more folks will be using this area.  The additional lighting should enhance the riverfront experience!

Friday, February 28, 2014

New Owners @ Cotton Mill Studios & Robert Street Studios

Front row: Eileen & Marty Black, Denise Carbonell & Derek Dominy
 On February 28, 2014, Asheville's River Arts District experienced a changing of the guards @ two of its core art studio buildings.  Cotton Mill Studios' owners of 12 years, Eileen & Marty Black, have found suitable kindred spirits in Denise Carbonell & Derek Dominy to seamlessly continue the arts based studio/gallery experience we have come to know @ Cotton Mill Studios.  Denise & Derek come to Asheville by way of NYC and bring with them a fierce love of the artist way of life.  The ARAD welcomes them with open arms!

In addition, long time ARAD property owners, William & Lynnell Goacher, have seen fit to sell Roberts Street Studios to the owners of The Asheville Glass Center: Robert Gardner, Alex Greenwood & Logan MacSporran.  Time to celebrate another artist owned building here in the ARAD!
Robert Gardner, Alex Greenwood & Logan MacSporran toasting their new purchase!

The transition of 140 Roberts Street from the Goachers to The Asheville Glass Center guys continues a legacy in the River Arts District that is little known but greatly appreciated! In the mid 1990's, Bill & Lynnell Goacher, thru Willyng, Inc., bought a number of commercial buildings, providing reasonably priced space for artists & musicians, nurturing creative independent commerce of many kinds.  Always interested in "raising up the neighborhoods" they invested in, the Goachers. in 2002, saw the wisdom in selling 115 to 129 Roberts Street, now known as The Wedge Studios, to sculptor, John Roy Payne.  John, in turn, nurtured many young artists, again by providing very affordable live/work space @ Wedge Studios. In 2008, the Goachers sold Railside Studios to its anchor tenant, Matt Parris, owner of Roots Foods, enabling a national reach for our yummy local food. The Goachers are still partners in 2000 Riverside Drive, affectionally known as NORAD or River Arts District North. The ARAD offers a HUGE THANKS to Bill & Lynnell Goacher for their continuing vision, helping to support the cultural vitality of Asheville and beyond!

New Belgium partners with Riverbend Malt House

On Friday, February 21, 2014, the national tapping of New Belgium's RyePA was held @ 90 Pond Road along Hominy Creek in Asheville.  In what had previously housed a tomato company, The Riverbend Malt House is quietly revolutionizing beer making in America… okay maybe a bit overstated but… with the roll out of NBB RyePA as well as a collaboration between NBB & Wicked Weed Brewmasters for the "Brett IPA", The Riverbend Malt House is helping create to a pipeline between local farmers & discriminating beer lovers world wide by supplying the locally grown & roasted rye & spelt for the aforementioned brews!  Join in the fun on March 8, 2014 @ the Wicked Weed for the East Coast tapping of the Brett!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Norfolk Southern Removes Log Jam

All of us who live upstream of this action are most appreciative! 
(or watch it live thanks to Asheville Greenworks!)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Belgium Brewery Construction Begins

Adolfson & Peterson Construction, in concert with several of the New Belgium hires are running the deconstruction & soon to start, construction of the New Belgium Asheville Brewery.  Look for a ground breaking ceremony to happen in May 2014.  Click on questions & concerns! to share them with New Belgium!  They want to be good neighbors!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Katuah Market Open

Katuah Market has opened @ 2 Hendersonville Road in Biltmore Station.  Offering the best local, natural, organic, healthy fresh and wonderfully prepared foods, founder & CEO, John Swann is helping to spur community building along the AVLriverfront!