-The snow storm forecasts for the Asheville area, which local meteorologists were playing down on Tuesday, suddenly got more serious on Wednesday. Forecasters are now saying the Asheville area could see about 6-8 inches of snow. The storm is supposed to start as rain on Thursday night and then turn to snow. But as we know, these things are subject to change. Check Ray’s Weather for updates.
There were several news tidbits that came out of the annual State of Downtown luncheon sponsored by the Asheville Downtown Association on Wednesday. Here’s a run-down:
-David Gantt, chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, said there will be an announcement soon about the plans to build a new pool/aquatics facility that could handle swimming competitions year-round. Right now, high school swim teams use a 50-year-old pool at Roberson High School that is in need to maintenance.
-Gantt reminded listeners that three new schools are planned to open this fall in Asheville and Buncombe County: a new Asheville Middle School; a new Dickson Elementary School; and a new intermediate school in Enka.
-The city of Asheville plans to hire a “downtown development specialist” who will report to City Manager Gary Jackson, said Mayor Esther Manheimer. The city has a similar person working on development in the River Arts District.
-Adrian Vassallo has stepped aside as president of the Asheville Downtown Association, and Ben Colvin has stepped up.
-Vassallo announced a new effort to better tell the story of the revitalization of downtown Asheville and, with Manheimer’s help, he unveiled a video sneak peek at a longer video that captured the oral history of the people who created Asheville’s Urban Trail, a self-guided walking tour of downtown dotted with mini-monuments and markers along the way. The effort will also include a new website and smart-phone app for the Urban Trail, all aimed at raising the profile of the Urban Trail and engaging more visitors. The video was produced by Erin Derham of History Boutique, a documentary filmmaker. Neither the video trailer nor the full video have been released yet.
-Three “Downtown Heroes” were honored: gallery owner (New Morning Gallery) John Cram was recognized as a downtown pioneer, as was downtown business owner (Jan Davis Tire) and former Asheville City Councilman Jan Davis. Mary Ann West was honored as an “unsung hero” for her work in championing the beautification and programming of Pritchard Park. Special thanks to Downtown Association President Ben Colvin for sending over the photo.
-Check out avlpark.com for real-time information on space availability at downtown parking lots.