From Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chair David Gantt:
A plan for 102 miles of greenways across Buncombe County won unanimous approval from Buncombe County commissioners at their last meeting. The greenway plan was finalized after consideration of over 2600 responses and comments from the public to the original plan that was posted online. The county explicitly stated that it will not acquire land by condemnation, and commissioners added a specific prohibition against the use of eminent domain. David reiterated the board’s stance, noting “If somebody says (a greenway) is not good, it’s not going to happen on their property”.
Greenways would be built over the next 10-20 years at a cost of at least $39.3 million. Most greenways would parallel streams: the French Broad River, the Swannanoa River, lower Hominy Creek, and Reems Creek. Greenways are also proposed along Lake Julian in southern Buncombe County and from Reynolds High School into Asheville. Much of the funding for implementation of the greenway system is envisioned to come in the form of grants; New Belgium Brewery has already pledged $50,000.
At the meeting the commission also discussed tax reappraisals and the refinancing of the county’s debt. Buncombe’s recent upgrade by Standard and Poor’s to a AAA rating has provided the county the opportunity to take advantage of a lower interest rate.
The commission also adopted a living wage resolution and approved the combining of the boards of the Department of Social Services and the Health Department. That move will allow for greater efficiency in providing services to Buncombe County residents, since people who need the services of one of the agencies usually require the assistance of the other agency as well.