“Our goal was to get in front of council and publicly update them on what has occurred since 2009-10 when the whole Buncombe County Master Plan (BCMP) started, and update on where we are today,” Gililand told the Tribune.
Areas like Asheville, Black Mountain, Woodfin and now Weaverville have been working to expand and build greenways that would connect the county, according to Tomsic. The project began back in 2012 with the completion of the BCMP.
The Town of Weaverville became a part of the county’s master plan when it was proposed to link Reems Creek into the route, according to Weaverville council member Doug Dearth. Then in 2014 the feasibility study was completed for a greenway in Weaverville.
“In the long term plan to connect Buncombe basically, the portion that is marked in Weaverville is going to be huge opportunity for the town,” said Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey.
Recently, according to the presentation, Buncombe County Parks and Recreations received a grant from Metropolitan Planning Organization for Design and Engineering Study on the greenway. This means the grant money that was awarded to the county goes towards hiring a consultant team to develop the feasibility study into a real alignment for the greenway. This is known as the Preliminary Engineering (P.E.) plan. The grant requires 20% match of the total grant request, according to “Connect Reems Creek” presentation.
“Because the county was the applicant for the grant they are technically on the hook, but I think our position as an organization and the town are going to be the direct beneficiaries we should do everything we can to help with advocacy,” Tomsic said, “Help with tribute financially to it too.”
“Connect Reem Creek” intends to fundraise $50,000 to assist in matching the figure, which is mainly being done through sticker sales and advocacy in the area. As the project does progress public fundraising, like “Connect Reems Creek” and “Connect Buncombe County” will play a critical role in addition to earning federal grants, corporation from the county, and some taxes. Partnering with local businesses and major businesses will also be looked into, according to Dearth. However, right now the town is still in the early stages of this process.
“It is more of a community outreach to make people aware that this process has been ongoing for six to seven years now, and it is not a forgotten endeavor,” Gililand said, “We are pushing hard to make this greenway a reality.”
The Reems Creek Greenway will be a part of the overall county master plan that is predicted to span from upper reaches of Reems Creek to the French Broad, Woodfin, Asheville, and all the through to Black Mountain and/or Chandler. Despite each town working on the greenways individually the greenways themselves will be integrated to meet the same standards set by the county.
“It’s a small knit community and we don’t want to explode,” Tomsic said, “but we have to make sure we grow organically.”