Hominy Creek Greenway Master Plan 2013

Our Mission

Welcome to the online hub for those who appreciate the Hominy Creek Greenway. 

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway (FOHCG) is a non-profit group committed to the preservation of the Hominy Creek Greenway. We have worked since 2010 with the City of Asheville and local residents in accordance with our mission statement.

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway (FOHCG) works with the community to manage the Hominy Creek Greenway (HCG) in order

  • to maintain its wild nature,
  • to preserve its rich history, and
  • to connect the HCG to the French Broad River, future greenways, and downtown Asheville. 

Our Vision

Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway works collaboratively with members, volunteers, neighbors, school groups and local organizations to restore native habitats along Hominy Creek as a place for community to recreate, commute, and connect with nature.  We envision the following:

  • Creation of a community greenway park by working with local artisans,  landscapers, and neighbors to create park facilities that support community gatherings, individual discovery, and alternative modes of transportation
  • Restored native habitats through the riparian zone and waterway
  • Partnerships that foster support for the greenway and encourage the involvement of local businesses and residents.
  • Established community gardens and edible forests in ideal places along the greenway/path
  • Interpretative signs and educational tools for teachers, students, and other visitors
  • Well-maintained footpaths to ensure its use as a trail for walkers, bikers, and other wanderers-raising source for the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway.

Join us as a member or volunteer.

Please contact board president Jack Igelman at jack@igelman.com if desired.

Greenway FAQs

How do I find the Hominy Creek Greenway?

The Hominy Creek Greenway is in the heart of “walkable” West Asheville. There are two greenway trailheads that connect Sand Hill Road to Shelburne Road. The trail parallels Hominy Creek and runs through a secluded fourteen-acre tract of forest.

Where can I park?

There are two public parking areas, one at each end of the greenway. There is a parking area at Sand Hill Road; and a parking area at Shelburne Road near the intersection of Hominy Creek Road near the old National Guard Armory. Each gravel parking area is distinguished by a trailhead kiosk with a map of the trail.

Are the Hominy Creek Greenway and Hominy Creek Park the same places?

No, they are different parks with similar names. The Hominy Creek Greenway is a city park and the Hominy Creek Park is operated by Buncombe County. Hominy Creek Park is located roughly one mile downstream of Hominy Creek Greenway at the confluence of Hominy Creek and the French Broad River.

How long is the greenway?

The ⅔ mile linear trail is situated on fourteen acres of public land. The trail is a dirt path that is relatively level.

Will the greenway trail ever be paved?

A master plan has been developed for the greenway. Currently, there is no timeline to improve the greenway trail. Since the trail is public, it is possible it will be paved to increase accessibility and to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Are there plans to connect the Hominy Creek Greenway with other public greenways?

Yes. The greenway will one day be part of a county wide trail system that will be known as the Buncombe Turnpike Trail Network spearhead by the Friends of Connect Buncombe. A feasibility study to connect the greenway to the Bent Creek neighborhood is underway and there are a variety of other community and public greenway projects being developed throughout the county.

Is it safe to swim in the creek?

You should swim at your own risk. The Hominy Creek watershed drains roughly 80 square miles of the county. The watershed includes industry, roads, and agriculture. The water quality of Hominy Creek is impacted by many dynamic variables that are difficult to detect and not measured on a regular basis.

Why are there sewer caps along the greenway?

The Metropolitan Sewage District of Buncombe County maintains a sewer line that runs underneath the greenway.

Are dogs allowed on the greenway?

Dogs are welcome on the greenway. A city ordinance requires that all pets be kept on a leash. Dog owners are encouraged to follow this ordinance in order to respect neighbors, the environment, and other pets and users of the greenway.

Who is in charge of the greenway?

The fourteen acres that encompass the greenway was purchased in 2011 by the city of Asheville with financial support from Buncombe County and donations from a variety of organizations and private citizens. The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway, Inc. (FOHCG, Inc.) serve as stewards of the HCG. The FOHCG, Inc. is a North Carolina non-profit corporation that is made up of a group of volunteers dedicated to managing the parkland. The FOHCG Inc. has a formal partnership agreement with the city of Asheville.

How can I help support the greenway?

Please join our effort: become a member, participate in volunteer workdays and/or attend our bi-monthly Board of Trustees meetings.

My question has not been answered here. Can I speak to someone instead?

Of course. Please contact FOHCG, Inc. Board of Trustees chairman, Jack Igelman, using the email icon on our home page.

Volunteers clearing invasive plant species using mechanical methods

Mechanical Clearing Underway

Quick update on the areas being mechanically cleared. Asheville GreenWorks is currently removing overgrown invasive plants to save our precious trees and create a wonderful place to relax. Currently being removed: privet, bittersweet, honeysuckle and the devil himself… multiflora rose. Once these specific plants are removed, we will seed with native grasses and will continue to mow these newly opened areas to beat back the invasive plants.

These areas will then become new planting areas for native trees, edible plants and pollinator meadows. Some of these areas will be perfect for beach blankets, picnics, pick-up soccer games, sunbathing, yoga and much-needed relaxation.

Public work days will be posted on the kiosks or you can email volunteer@ashevillegreenworks.org if you’re inclined to help out.

Greenways Support Schools & Services

Investing in greenways supports our schools and social services, as tax dollars should. The Dr. John Wilson Community Garden is just a small example of how greenways across Buncombe County can support these essential elements in our neighborhoods. The Town of Black Mountain established the Garden Greenway in 2011 with grant funding from multiple sources, public and private.

The Garden Greenway provides a direct link to schools and social services by:

Providing affordable access to more than 70 families to grow vegetables for themselves
Donating 4,000 pounds of fresh produce to families in need
Supporting health and nutrition education for every first and fourth grader in Black Mountain through field trips.
Did you know you can grow eight months of food for about $35? Seeds can be purchased with food stamps and our gardeners are able to grow eight months of food for the cost to rent a garden plot, $35. A number of our gardeners walk or bike to the garden to tend their plots.

I know in one instance, biking is her only form of transportation. There are no bike lanes or sidewalks that currently link the garden to downtown. Greenways connect the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden to downtown Black Mountain.

Childhood obesity and diabetes are increasing at incredible rates. I cannot think of a more direct social service to target these two epidemics among our school children than greenways and gardens. The Community Garden annually hosts every Black Mountain public school first and fourth grader on a field trip, where they learn about how fruits and vegetables are grown and how healthy food can keep their bodies healthy. With the Garden Greenway now available, these students include a walk on the greenway as part of their field trip, learning about exercise and wellness.

The greenway has increased exposure to the Community Garden, which has increased our access to funding. Last year we received a $3,000 grant to fund the installation of an orchard on a site opened up by the construction of the greenway. Planting fruit and nut trees increase our ability to provide access to fresh produce in our community.

As the mother of three children, the greenway means a lot to me. While I work, my children bike, ride scooters, draw with chalk and play games, some days long after the sun has gone down and the bats have come out. Before the greenway, dragging my children to work was a chore. Now they often want to go, even when I don’t need to.

Because our house is near the Garden Greenway, we don’t even need to use the car to go to work or play. For me, all of these things make calling Black Mountain home that much sweeter.

Black Mountain News, Jul. 10, 2012
Written by Diana Schmitt McCall, Guest Columnist

Economic Impact of Trails

This article is from “Carolina Thread Trail“
Little Sugar Creek Greenway A number of economic impact studies based on data and reasonable forecasting techniques indicate that connected bicycle/pedestrian facilities (like trails and greenways) offer a significant return on investment through property value increases, tourism, business investment, alternative transportation benefits and health benefits.

A 2011 cost/benefit study by Alta Planning and Design evaluated the completion of a multipurpose trail linking the City of Davidson and Cabarrus County (from the Cabarrus County line to downtown Charlotte). The study resulted in an internal return on investment of 16.21%, not including the quantification of recreational benefits. A 2007 study by Econsult, Inc. and Greenways, Inc. forecasting the economic benefit of the Carolina Thread Trail indicated that
increased tourism from a completed regional network would generate an estimated $3-$6 million in incremental state and local tax revenue per year.

Multiple studies indicate that property values for homes and businesses near trails are greater – with increases ranging from between 4% and 20% – when compared to properties not along trails. This is not surprising in light of the outcome of a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors that cited walking and biking trails as the #1 amenity desired by homebuyers.

While these studies are compelling, sometimes the most convincing evidence of the economic impact of an infrastructure investment can be accessed from talking to representatives from businesses that are directly

Furman University recently released an in-depth study of the health and economic impacts of the Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail. The study provides a baseline for the impact of the 17.5 mile multi-use trail connecting Greenville to Travelers Rest, SC. For a segment of the study, interviews were conducted with nine managers or owners of retail businesses abutting or within 250 yards of the trail. Data from that study includes the following:

Most of the businesses reported increases in sales/revenue ranging from 30% to as high as 85% since the trail was completed.
One business decided to open as a result of the trail being built.
One business reported changing locations to a site on the trail and observed a 30% increase in sales.
One business reported that 75% of Saturday business and 40% of business during the week related to trail use.
These findings, when combined with general observations about how economic activity has been enhanced along stretches of the Carolina Thread Trail– like the Metropolitan stretch of Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte and the Peidmont Medical Center Trail in Rock Hill – are indications of how a connected regional trail network would generate large near-term economic returns. The case becomes even more compelling when hospitals, business centers, schools, retail and residential hubs are connected via multi use trails.

Along The Thread, we see and hear the momentum and excitement from local governments and community residents about trails opening in their neighborhoods and communities. We know all trails will help our communities be better places to live and work, while creating new economic activity for our communities for years to come.

Trails Important to Home Buyers

From National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors

In April, 2002 a survey of of 2,000 recent home buyers was co-sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors. The survey asked about the “importance of community amenities,” and trails came in second only to highway access. Those surveyed could check any number of the 18 amenities, and 36 percent picked walking, jogging or biking trails as either “important” or “very important.” Sidewalks, parks, and playgrounds ranked next in importance.

Ranking much lower were ball fields, golf courses, and tennis courts. However, the home buyers indicated that price and home size were far more important than proximity to work, the city or schools. Given three statements to choose from, 62 percent indicated “the top concern was price,” while 31 percent said that “finding a home in the right neighborhood was the top priority.” Just 7 percent of respondents said that “being close to work and minimizing the commute was really important.”

A graph showing that 36 percent of surveyed home buyers rate trails as important to very important nearby amenities
36 percent of surveyed home buyers rate trails as important to very important nearby amenities

Article from National Trails Training Partnership

Greenway Land Links Neighborhoods to Carrier Park

Asheville Citizen-Times, Feb. 14, 2011  

Asheville has 4.5 miles of developed greenways and is working toward a 15-mile system.
Size: 12 acres
Possible length of greenway: 2/3 of a mile
Connections: To the north, Sand Hill Road at the corner of Narbeth Road. To the south, the intersection of Hominy Creek and Shelburne Roads.

ASHEVILLE — For an urban neighborhood, Doug Barlow found a rare thing when he moved to his West Asheville home four years ago.

Written by Joel Burgess

Just across Sand Hill Road, a narrow, wooded stretch of property running along Hominy Creek offered him a scenic trek to Carrier Park, the city’s most popular recreation spot.

“I walked down here, and I saw that beautiful creek and the woods and thought this needs to be a greenway,” Barlow said.

Taking a cue from land preservation he had done in Atlanta, the 64-year-old Barlow and his neighbors tried to convince government officials and others to buy the 12 acres from private owners

With a $300,000 price tag, the effort failed to win City Council approval in 2007. But thanks to years of work by volunteers and a drop in property values, Asheville has bought the land $139,000.

The move preserves a historic and unusual piece of property, supporters say, and serves as another link for the area’s growing greenway system.

City and Buncombe County taxpayers each paid $55,756. Private donors gave $27,878. Barlow himself chipped in $500, plus around $2,000 that wasn’t counted, he said, for the original survey and other costs over the four years.

A major fear until recently was that someone interested in developing the land would outbid the city, Barlow said.

“I’ve been holding my breath for so long on this thing,” he said.

Those involved with the property soon learned its historic nature. Stone ruins show the spot of a dam built by Edwin Carrier, for whom the park is named.

An investor from Pennsylvania, Carrier dammed the creek to provide power to his resort at Sulphur Springs near what is now Malvern Hills.

It also powered a street car that went to a racetrack near the site of the current park and into the city.

The dam eventually failed and Carrier went bankrupt. The land, largely in floodplain, went to other owners. A sewer line was built along it, and over the years, a few walkers and cyclists turned it into a regular route.


Residents cited greenways in a city survey as their biggest priority when it comes to parks and recreation. But land suitable for the linear parks can be hard to come by.

The Hominy Creek land holds added value in that it provides an easily traveled connection from central West Asheville to other greenways.

From Haywood Road, walkers and cyclists can go down Sand Hill, turn into the property and after 2/3 of a mile come out at Hominy Creek Road.

The road ends at Hominy Creek Park and connects to the existing Hominy Creek Greenway that runs to Carrier Park.

The greenway from Carrier goes on to the French Broad River Park and Dog Park. Crossing the French Broad River from the park is a bike lane that runs along Lyman Street to the River Arts District.

Other routes are often busy with cars or have steep hills, said Charlie Clogston, treasurer for the nonprofit Blue Ridge Bicycle Club

“This is a good place for families to ride away from cars,” Clogston said.

The club has made health a major focus and wants to encourage cycling among children, especially those at risk of obesity.

For that reason, the Buncombe-based group was the lead agency in raising private funds and got a deed restriction for the property specifying that it should always be a public park.

It will likely be years until the city will be able to pay for paving and other improvements, meanwhile people will likely continue to blaze their own path, said Marc Hunt, chairman of the Asheville Greenway Commission

As for the bigger picture, Hunt said the Hominy Creek property could eventually link a greenway system to the Buncombe County Sports Park in Candler and on into Enka.

“It could be a pretty remarkable connection,” he said.

Environmental learning

Along with being a corridor for commuters and others, the property is an unusual piece of forest in the city, Barlow said.

Barlow said he hopes schools will take advantage of its proximity to teach students about plants and animals.

Along with a wide range of trees — including poplars, locusts and black walnuts, people have spotted pileated woodpeckers, hawks, foxes and deer.

Barlow said he’s run across turkeys and believes there’s a coyote den nearby.

“I’ve seen all sorts of critters down there,” he said.