Each year, the Buncombe TDA takes a portion of the hotel room tax money it collects from Buncombe hotels and hands out grants to projects aimed at increasing tourism in the county and putting “heads in beds.”
This year, the requests come as a proposal to increase the Buncombe County hotel room tax from 4 percent to 6 percent works its way through the N.C. General Assembly. Some residents want to see a portion of that room tax money set aside for projects that would address the impacts of tourism on the community.
Buncombe TDA projects moving forward under its Tourism Development Product Fund process:
-ABSCI: The Collider: $350,000
The Collider is designed to be Asheville’s world-class conference center in the heart of downtown. Located in the Wells Fargo building in downtown Asheville. Two components: The Collider Theatre and Collider CoWorking. Redundant 10G fiber optic broadband capacity with direct access to key federal resources gives the Collider the ability to move vast amounts of data for virtual conferencing, presentations and workshops. The Collider has more than 3,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. Image link for The Collider.
-ABYSA: JBL Soccer complex improvements: $1.1 million
The proposed project is the replacement of artificial turf at the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex in Buncombe County.
-Center for Craft, Creativity and Design: conference facility: $940,000
The core component would be a 200-person nontraditional conference facility and event center that will have state-of-the-art AV technology and fiber internet connectivity, as well as 3,300 square feet of general session space, 1,130 square feet of banquet/exhibition space and a 1,000 square foot rooftop terrace, as well as 1,200 square feet of reception/flex space.
-City of Asheville: River to Ridge riverfront destination development project $2.27 million
The vision is to create an outdoor recreation experience that connects from the Beaucatcher Overlook Park to the River Arts District and beyond. Asheville’s velodrome would be resurfaced under this project. River to Ridge greenway trail connection; French Broad River Greenway Network; velodrome rebuild; crosswalk and river access across Amboy Road at Carrier Park, as well as construction of a river access point.
-Colburn Earth Science Museum: Moving Science Education Into The Spotlight: $400,000
Colburn is moving into a new location on Patton Avenue and is seeking the money to continue renovation work.
-Hickory Nut Gap Farm: Asheville’s Farm to Table Destination: Hickory Nut Gap Farm: $120,000
The project includes the rehabilitation of an existing big barn and concession area. Hickory Nut Gap wants to remodel for guests. The farm serves 40 local restaurant accounts and is growing at a 15 percent annual clip. It also hosts tour groups and events and wants to better serve those clients.
-Riverglass: Riverglass Public Glass Studio & School: $200,000 grant and $100,000 loan
The nonprofit Riverglass aims to create a new state-of-the-art public glass studio and school to be located in warehouses just to the north of the River Arts District. Riverglass would be an anchor tenant in the arts-oriented warehouse conversion project. It would offer continuous free demonstrations, classes and a shop.
-Friends of the WNC Nature Center: Front entrance: $313,000
The WNC Nature Center wants to relocate its front entrance to the level of what is currently parking area C. The move will increase safety and create a separate entrance for prepaid groups as well as new bus parking. The money would also go toward anew building with ticket sales, as well as renovations to itscurrent barn to provide new restrooms and exhibit space.