Local news in brief from our issue of Aug. 1, 2018

NEW DIGS: The Asheville Tool Library will host an open house and grand opening at its new location at 55 Southside Ave. on Saturday, Aug. 4. Photo courtesy of Asheville Tool Library

Asheville Tool Library expands, moves

The membership-based Asheville Tool Library will host an open house at its new location, 55 Southside Ave., on Saturday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Library founder Nicholas Letts tells Xpress that the new space is four times larger than the organization’s original location.

Of the open house, Letts says, “It will be a meet-and-greet-type event and a chance for us to show off the new space and talk about the library and all the tools we want to see filling up the shelves. We really hope a lot of people will come check it out, bring friends and sign up for memberships or to volunteer so maybe we can try to be open more hours each week. … We really look forward to providing more tools and supporting our community.”

More information is available at ashevilletoollibrary.org.

Planning agency awards $25 million for Asheville-area projects

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization recently authorized more than $25 million of funding for transportation projects.

The MPO selected projects that included sidewalk, greenway and bus purchase projects. Of those funds, $17.7 million in federal transportation funds will go to transportation projects managed by the city of Asheville.  The funding will pay for 10 new transit buses to begin implementing the city’s new Transit Master Plan.

The grants also include funding for the construction of the Town Branch Greenway and the French Broad River West Greenway in Asheville. These two projects were initially planned to coincide with the city’s River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project.

Asheville also received funding to build sidewalks on New Haw Creek Road, Onteora Boulevard and Johnston Boulevard. All three sidewalk projects were partially funded through the bonds passed by the city and supplemented with funding from the MPO.

Additional regional projects funded include:

  • Buncombe County received construction funding for Hominy Creek Greenway in the Enka area, scheduled for construction in 2020.
  • Black Mountain received additional funding for the Riverwalk Greenway.
  • Canton received funding for preliminary engineering and right of way for sidewalks on Champion Drive from North Canton Road to Thickety Road.
  • Mills River was awarded funding for preliminary engineering for a multiuse path on N.C. Highway 280 from the French Broad River to Haywood Road/N.C. Highway 191.

A-B Tech receives STEM grant

A-B Tech has received a $331,650 grant from the National Science Foundation to promote technology and engineering career opportunities and increase the number and diversity of trained technicians in the workforce.

The college will collaborate with high schools in the city of Asheville and Buncombe and Madison counties to provide professional development opportunities for educators to increase recruitment of local high school students into targeted STEM programs at A-B Tech.

Pamela Silvers, an instructor in the computer technologies department, serves as principal investigator for the new grant, as she did for two previous NSF grants totaling more than $1.2 million. She has led efforts to increase female enrollment in A-B Tech STEM programs, create a STEM scholarship and offer STEM events.

Murals to multiply

New murals keep appearing in Asheville (and elsewhere in the region). A planned new public art installation offers a twist on the theme: Rather than gracing a flat wall, a selected artist will adorn the risers of the staircase between Wall Street and Battery Park Avenue. The Asheville Downtown Association Foundation is leading the effort, which it says in a press release will “create a complete image when viewing from Wall Street.” The city’s new Place Partners Program, which collaborates with private entities on temporary public space enhancements, is also involved in the project.

The deadline to submit qualifications is Friday, Aug. 10, at 5 p.m. Up to three artists will be selected to submit proposals; the selected finalists will receive a $250 stipend. ADAF expects to unveil the artwork in November. More information about the project and how to submit qualifications is available at avl.mx/55l.

ADAF also announced that it is working with the South Slope Neighborhood Association to create a South Slope Mural Trail. In addition to several existing murals, neighborhood businesses will support the creation of additional works of art. The project aims to curate murals into a self-guided tour of public art, sharing the inspiration and history behind the art and the artist.

Jen Gordon has joined ADAF as the South Slope Mural Trail curator.

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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