During their meeting of Tuesday, May 9, members of Asheville City Council will hear a presentation about the potential absorption of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.
While no related documents were linked to Council’s agenda as of press time, an April 26 presentation from the BCTDA shares some details about the proposal. A study commissioned for the TDA by the Huddle Up Group, a Phoenix-based sports consulting firm, recommends consolidating the sports commission into the tourism body. The TDA already funds the bulk of the commission’s work, at roughly $230,000 per year. (The city of Asheville and Buncombe County each pitch in about $45,000 annually, while UNC Asheville offers its facilities as in-kind contributions.)
The sports commission was created as an independent body in 2010 by the city, county, UNCA and BCTDA to bring more sporting events to the area. The commission is governed by a four-member group consisting of one stakeholder from each of those bodies: Council member Sage Turner represents Asheville; Commissioner Amanda Edwards represents the county; Athletic Director Janet Cone represents UNCA; and Explore Asheville President and CEO Vic Isley represents the TDA.
City Council itself has no formal role in approving any merger of the two bodies. Instead, the sports commission’s four-member leadership group will make the decision. According to reporting by Asheville Watchdog, Turner has said she will not support the takeover but that the other three members back the move.
Listening sessions are being scheduled with sports commission leaders for 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, and 9 a.m. Thursday, May 18, both in the first-floor meeting room of 200 College St. A date for the merger vote itself has yet to be announced.
In other news
City Manager Debra Campbell will present her proposal for Asheville’s fiscal year 2023-24 annual operating budget. No related documents were linked to the agenda as of press time.
And Council will hear a presentation on the county’s latest Point-in-Time Count — the annual tally of the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. This year’s count was held Jan. 31. No documents were linked to the agenda as of press time.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 11 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to enter into a $150,000 contract with Kimley Horn for a flood impact and mitigation study along Swannanoa River Road. The study will be funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation and will inform the Swannanoa Transportation Corridor Resiliency Plan.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to enter into a $4.57 million construction contract with Patton Construction Group of Asheville for phase two of the Memorial Stadium and Mountainside Park improvements. Among the renovations are the construction of a six-lane track — a point of contention between residents of the historically Black East End/Valley Street neighborhood and Asheville’s soccer community — installation of a walking trail and updates to facilities and bleachers. Construction will begin this summer and is expected to take 12 months.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to enter into an interlocal agreement with Buncombe County to co-manage the Food Scraps Drop-Off program. The program, which launched in 2021, diverts food scraps that would otherwise go to the landfill into composting; so far, 2,300 households have participated, avoiding about 160 tons of waste. The five-year agreement will allow the city and the county to split costs related to drop-off sites within city limits, with the city’s share estimated as about $15,000 annually.
Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 6407.
Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 6407; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilMay92023@publicinput.com until 9 a.m. May 9. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to AshevilleNCCouncil@AshevilleNC.gov.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.