More than 200 river rats, advocates, conservationists and economic stakeholders from a seven-county region filled Ferguson Auditorium to celebrate their successes and discuss ways to continue cleaning up one of the world’s oldest water ways to maximize its environmental and economic sway.
“It’s going to take a historic effort to close the gaps in housing supply that are close to the places where people work, shop and entertain themselves and where there may also be options for walking, biking or taking mass transit.”
According to a statement from the company, Moog plans to continue to be headquartered in Asheville, where it will continue to design, engineer, service and manufacture instruments, although a selection of instruments will be produced by “trusted partners.”
Violent and disturbing incidents downtown are leaving workers frustrated and frightened. One business owner at an Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce listening session asked the assembled crowd, “How many people have to get assaulted?”
On heels of a 2021 study that showed the power of the French Broad River as an economic driver, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce convened a panel to discuss the importance of keeping that engine clean.
The local business group’s annual event usually features WNC’s General Assembly delegation and its reflections on happenings in Raleigh. This year, the entirety of Buncombe County’s incoming state House contingent was absent: As newly elected officials, Eric Ager, Lindsey Prather and Caleb Rudow were taking part in orientation at the capitol.
“By expanding the blitz to four counties and making a game of it, we hope to be able to engage more people and find more species,” said MountainTrue Public Lands Biologist Josh Kelly. “We might even find some that have never been recorded in our region.”
“Wilma Dykeman’s shadow covered all of us and inspired us to speak out and support citizens who were becoming more and more concerned about water quality, air quality, land use, land conservation, forest management, etc., in our mountain area.”
Billed as a wrap-up of a busy year for WNC’s state legislative delegation, much of the Dec. 10 gathering hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce wound up being devoted to the future of the General Assembly — a future that, following a Dec. 8 order by the North Carolina Supreme Court, faces many unknowns.
While much attention has been paid to the struggles of individual businesses that have borne the economic brunt of the pandemic, Asheville’s business organizations, which provide a critical framework for entrepreneurs to network, collaborate and market their wares, have also taken a hit.
Chief among the issues facing the General Assembly next year, said Sen. Chuck Edwards, would be balancing the state’s next budget to reflect pandemic-driven downturns in revenue. He estimated that the shortfall compared to current spending levels could be as much as $8 billion.
Buncombe hotels can now host more visitors — as long as they have an 828 area code. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has announced a coronavirus-inflected legislative agenda, and $5,000 micro grants are available for local startups.
Local businesses are bringing creativity to bear on pandemic-related closures and plans for business revitalization following the end of restrictions. They could get some help: Sen. Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville announced he will introduce legislation to the N.C. General Assembly to allow the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to make grants to tourism businesses to support their reopening.