Kenilworth developer donates land to Riverlink

Full announcement from Riverlink:

The Kenilworth neighborhood is about to get some new open space as a result of a donation of land to RiverLink from Caledonia LLC. According to Karen Cragnolin, executive director at RiverLink, “We have been in discussion with developer Frank Howington, principal of Caledonia LLC, for several months about a greenway in Kenilworth that will connect the neighborhood to the Swannanoa River. The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay plan and RiverLink’s strategic goals are to conserve both steep slopes and riparian areas for better water quality, better connectivity and permanent protection of open space. This donation accomplishes these goals.”

RiverLink has an on-going project in the Ross Creek sub-watershed of the French Broad River, where this newest donation is located. Ross Creek ‘s headwaters are in Chunns Cove, which passes under and drains parts of Tunnel Road and passes through Kenilworth until it empties into the Swannanoa River along Swannanoa River Road. RiverLink has been working with neighbors in the Chunns Cove neighborhood and Saint Luke’s Church on a Clean Water Trust Fund project designed to improve Ross Creek, by removing invasive species and installing BMP’s or Best Management Practices to reduce the amount of erosion and sediment entering the stream. Ross Creek is on the state’s 303(d) list for impaired streams.

RiverLink hopes to work with the Kenilworth neighborhood and a variety of volunteers to establish a mulch path greenway connection from the neighborhood to the river. The 3.36 acre donation along with an easement being granted by Caledonia LLC envisions a greenway connection from the bus stop to the river.

Caledonia LLC successfully developed the historic Kenilworth Inn, a former hospital, into apartments several years ago. A new 50 unit multi-story apartment complex is in the works for land adjacent to this donation by Caledonia LLC. According to Howington, “I appreciate that open space and greenway trails are a tremendous amenity for this and every neighborhood and will be a feature for our future development in the area.”

RiverLink will host a series of meetings with the Kenilworth neighborhood in late January to get input and solicit volunteers to help with invasive removal and trail development. For more information contact RiverLink at 828-252-8474, ext 16 or email information@riverlink.org.


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0 thoughts on “Kenilworth developer donates land to Riverlink

  1. Valerie Hoh

    I would like to respond to Riverlink’s announcement that the Kenilworth neighborhood is about to get some new open space as a result of a donation of 3.36 acres of land to Riverlink from Caledonia LLC, Frank Howington’s development company.

    I respect Riverlink’s work but I have to disagree with their assessment that my neighborhood is gaining new open space. I would respectfully point out that what Kenilworth will be gaining in the next 3 years will be two 50 unit developments where there was open space before.

    How does building 100 units on steep 30% to 45% slope fit into “Riverlink’s strategic goals to conserve both steep slopes and riparian areas for better water quality”?

    In the race to establish a greenway connection, Riverlink has forgotten that a whole neighborhood’s way of life will be changed not for the better with a greenways connection to the river but with a dangerous addition of hundreds and hundreds of cars on our steep and narrow roads with double blind curves.

    Those who have businesses in Biltmore Village should gird up for more floods in the future when 20 or more acres of formerly green slope becomes a concrete jungle with the inevitable storm runoffs and resulting sediment that does not fit into Riverlink’s “Best Management Practices to reduce the amount of erosion and sediment entering the stream” in this case, the Swannanoa River.

    Perhaps Riverlink can explain to the Kenilworth neighborhood how their goals and the goals of the developer meet. We are having a hard time understanding how the donation of a small area of land offsets the large scale destruction of a prominent steep slope within our city. A slope, that when compromised, is guaranteed to pollute and destroy any advancements in the preservation of the Swannanoa river.

    Valerie Hoh
    Kenilworth resident

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