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Matthew

Asheville's Riverfront

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The city and county will vote between April 5-9.

This has been a hot subject lately. I'm glad Asheville is looking towards attracting people first and letting business follow people. While that may not work everywhere, I do think it will work here. A river front of shopping, offices, bike & walking paths and residential units could do a lot to transform the area. I guess the question is, will anyone build office space on spec in Asheville along the riverfront? I do think office space along the riverfront is a good idea. Usually I would say "downtown only", but I think this space will attract a different kind of tennant compared to what space downtown would attract.

River park could bring creative flow to area

By Mark Barrett, Staff WriterMarch 25, 2004 8:58 p.m.

ASHEVILLE - A plan to revitalize Asheville's urban riverfront will attract entrepreneurs and workers in technology and information fields who can live where they want, an official who helped develop the plan told the Buncombe County Economic Development Commission on Thursday.

The plan calls for a mixture of residential, office and retail developments along the French Broad River just south of Smoky Park Bridge and for a parkway with bicycling and walking paths, primarily along existing roads, along the portions of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers within the city limits.

As manufacturing and other jobs leave for other countries, a renewed riverfront can help attract "knowledge and creative workers (who) are consumers of place," said Dana Stonestreet, a local banker who served on a committee involved in developing the plan for RiverLink, a nonprofit group pushing riverfront revitalization.

"Companies will want to be where these workers are or where these workers want to be," Stonestreet said.

The commission gave its assent to the plan, and Stonestreet hopes city and county government will adopt it in April, he said. The organization would then start recruiting a developer this summer and hopes to persuade the state Department of Transportation to put the parkway on its master plan of transportation projects.

On an unrelated issue, the commission heard proposals to change its name from Jeff Goss of the Goss Agency, a local advertising agency.

Goss proposed either Partnership for Economic Development of the Asheville Area or The Partnership for Economic Development.

Commission members began discussing a name change in January, Chairman Jim Daniels said after the meeting. "A lot of places think that there's some magic in a name besides economic development commission," he said. "It's just a marketing ploy to sound better, to sound less governmental."

David Porter, vice president for economic development at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, said Goss is being paid "no more than $5,000" to develop a new name, logo and related items and that a decision won't be made until later this year.

David Young, a commission member and Buncombe County commissioner, said afterward that he is not sure either proposal will fly.

"If I say I'm from `The Partnership,' what does that mean?" he said.

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Is this the same Riverfront you can see as you cross the 240 bridge over Broad River. Where you see what looks to be a really old factory or powerhouse?

Also on a different topic, can you get a pic of Asheville's own Neo Urban development, the Biltmore development at the I-26/Skyland exit?

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Yes, it is what you see from 240. In fact, it's that area (what you see from 240) they are most interested in developing. Along the river you'll find a park, a few artists studios, scrap yards, trees and some abandonded warehouses/factories. It's developing, but it needs something big, like this, to get things going. This has been planned for about 5 years now, and it takes some time to get projects out of planning and under construction here. We also have to deal with the state on this one. This project is very complicated, but there is strong support for this one and I think it will break ground! Once this gets built, I think our city should look into a trolley/streetcar system. We will have the attractions to connect with trolleys/streetcars at that time and trolleys/streetcars would encourage more ridership of our transit system than the usual buses do.

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From what I have seen of Asheville, I think it would benefit greatly from some type of streetcar or light rail system. What kind of local support do you think there is for a project like this?

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Yeah, us outsiders need pics so we know what you're talking about. I've been to Asheville, but it's been a few years. Hopefully I can make it back there sometime in the next few years.

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