UNC Asheville announced Wednesday that it has acquired 10 acres of tree-studded land at the corner of W.T. Weaver Boulevard and Merrimon Avenue, land that has been held over the years by the W.T. Weaver family and the Verne Rhoades family for more than 100 years.
The property is appraised at $6 million. The university paid $3 million — $2 million in state funds set aside for buying property and $1 million from UNCA’s trust funds. The remaining $3 million is a gift to the university, one of the largest gifts UNCA has ever received, according to a news release.
“This provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to preserve this cherished homestead that is so much a part of our rich heritage in Asheville,” Chancellor Anne Ponder said in the statement. “It is a particular honor to carry on the wishes of the Rhoades family in preserving a green corridor along Merrimon Avenue and W.T. Weaver Boulevard for the community for generations to come.”
In an interview Wednesday morning, UNCA spokesperson Merianne Epstein said the university has been in talks with the Rhoades family for 20 years regarding the land. She said the property has a number of grand trees and green periphery that the university wants to preserve. While there are no immediate plans to develop the land, it might one day be used as an eco-village for students and faculty, Epstein said.
Verne Rhoades Sr., for whom UNCA’s Rhoades Hall is named, was one of the first scientific foresters in Western North Carolina, according to UNCA’s news release. He played important roles in the creation of Pisgah National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and was well known as a visionary civic and business leader in Asheville.
Click here to read the full news release.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor
Photo courtesy of UNCA: Chancellor Anne Ponder (left) with Sally Rhoades, whose family donated 10 acres of North Asheville property to the University.