Ashevegas Hot Sheet: Asheville awarded $17.7 million for bus system, greenways, sidewalks


Here’s more of what’s going on, including the announcement of the Asheville bus system funding. Here we go:

-The city of Asheville landed $17.7 million in federal transportation money, which will go to buying 10 new city buses, the implementation of a new Transit Master Plan that will expand service and the construction of greenways and sidewalks. Here’s the press release:

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization recently authorized more than $25 million of funding for transportation projects in the French Broad River MPO region.

The MPO selected projects that included sidewalk, greenway and bus purchase projects in Buncombe County, Asheville, Black Mountain, Canton and Mills River. Of those funds, $17.7 million in federal transportation funds will go to transportation projects managed by the City of Asheville. The funding will pay for 10 new transit buses to begin implementing the City’s new Transit Master Plan. The majority of these buses are scheduled to be zero-emission electric models.

The grants also include funding the construction of two shovel-ready greenways in Asheville — Town Branch Greenway and the French Broad River West Greenway. These two projects were initially planned to coincide with the City’s River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP).

The City of Asheville also received funding for construction of sidewalks on New Haw Creek Road, Onteora Boulevard and Johnston Boulevard. All three sidewalk projects were partially funded through the bonds passed by the City and supplemented by funding from the MPO. The construction companies taking on these projects could really do with something like a dry hire excavator to push through the construction time of the sidewalks as quick as possible.

Additional regional projects funded include:
· Buncombe County received construction funding for Hominy Creek Greenway in the Enka area, scheduled for construction in 2020

· The Town of Black Mountain received additional funding for the Riverwalk Greenway

· The Town of Canton received funding for preliminary engineering and right-of-way for sidewalks on Champion Drive from North Canton Road to Thickety Road

· The Town of Mills River was awarded funding for preliminary engineering for a multi?use path on N.C. 280 from the French Broad River to Haywood Road/N.C. 191

-Asheville chefs represent in New York City. Back in June, Chef Katie Button of Nightbell/Curate cooked a James Beard House dinner called “A Taste of Asheville.” Last week, Chef Graham House of Sovereign Remedies served up a veggie-forward dinner he called “Modern Appalachia” and rocked the house. (I was there. It was fantastic. Look for full report coming up.) And Sunday, Chef William Dissen of The Marketplace will be one of four chefs presenting a seafood-centric Sunday Supper at the James Beard House. It’s all incredible exposure for the Asheville food scene.

-New development trend in Asheville: subdivisions. More and more small and medium-sized subdivision plans are coming forward for approval, some 10 years after the mortgage crisis hit. Single-family home construction has lagged across the U.S. since. Around Asheville, we’ve seen plenty of new apartment building and condo construction, with some in-fill construction of single-family homes. Now subdivisions are rolling out.

-New tour in town: Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours.

-Several West Asheville businesses are fed up with a transient/homeless camp just off Haywood Road on State Street near Firestorm Books and 12 Baskets. Apparently people connected with that camp are engaging in public drinking and drug use. The city of Asheville has formed a working group of business owners to work through the issues.

-Mural artists in Asheville are on fire. Gus Cutty and Ian Wilkinson, in particular, have been doing some incredible work. Check out Cutty’s new Dolly Parton mural on the side of the Bledsoe Building in West Asheville if you haven’t already; see Wilkinson’s new Waterbird mural on Charlotte Street; and note the 1980s-themed Cutty/Wilkinson work on Wheel City Motors warehouse on Sardis Road.

-New mural coming to the stairwell connecting Battery Park Ave. and Wall Street.

-Another new mural is coming to the “pit of despair.” It will say “Love Asheville,” with each of the 13 letters designed by a different artist. Artist Jenny Fares is leading this up.

-Be careful at the Patton Avenue/Leicester Highway intersection. The NCDOT will start work there to to add lanes there. When it’s all done, there will be three turn lanes from Leicester Highway onto Patton Avenue east toward I-240, and an additional left turn lane on eastbound Patton Avenue to New Leicester Highway.