Report to Asheville Greenway Commission

Report to Asheville Greenway Commission, November 10, 2011

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway is a group of neighbors and other stakeholders who are creating a vision and working to create a special park for our community.

The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway has accomplished much since the first meeting this past May. Our core steering committee consists of Brotherhug Barlow, Jack Igelman, Jake McLean, Kristen Peppel, Tony Hauser and Nancy Hodges. Marcia Bromberg serves as our liaison to both greenway commissions.

Our vision for this greenway is to restore the park land to its natural state with a through trail for cyclists and meandering mulched trails for walkers.

Accomplishments this year

  • Vines have been cut from over 100 trees. Although there are many trees that have already been killed by the vines, we’re hoping to stop that.
  • Over 100 tires have been removed. Most tires were removed from the creek and the dump area. Many had been dumped down the hill from the Trinity Baptist Church parking lot.
  • Three dead trees blocking the trail were removed. A volunteer used his chain saw to cut the trees to movable lengths.
  • The dump sites have been cleared. Volunteers removed the roofing material, asphalt, glass and other trash from the top of the dump sites. Most construction materials were left for later removal.
  • The trail has been kept cleared all summer. MSD has usually cleared the brush from the sewer easement in late summer after the Japanese knotweed and other invasives had grown to a 7 foot height. We cleared the trail this year in March before the Ride of the Green and the ribbon cutting for the trail. A neighbor who grew up a block from the creek has kept the greenway mowed all year.
  • The park is becoming an educational space. Students from A-B Tech have been brought through to study the invasives. A Girl Scout troop came to learn about community development and explore the woods. Many groups of teens from church groups and from Outward Bound have gotten lessons about plants while helping clear the invasives.
  • Native Plant Inventory. Over 40 native wildflowers and other herbaceous plants have been inventoried.
  • Historical Research. In conjunction with the West Asheville History Center, much research has been done about the property, the trolley line, electricity in West Asheville, Edwin Carrier and the Sulphur Springs community.
  • Partnerships. Our cleanups have been through partnership with Asheville Greenworks. Riverlink is our fiscal agent. Blue Ridge Bikes helped raise funds.
  • The greenway is being used! Quite a few neighbors are using the greenway for commuting, several on bikes, one walking from Brevard Road to Asheville School. Many neighbors walk their dogs daily on the trail. Runners now have a route from Brevard Road to Sand Hill Road without having to go to Haywood. Asheville School cross-country team often runs the trail after school. Neighbors who have lived near the park all their lives are loving that it is now cleared and public.
  • 150+ people attended our celebration! There is growing excitement in our community for this greenway. Neighbors who grew up in this community are thrilled to see the land saved and being cleaned up.
  • The gathering was a successful fund-raiser. Over $500 was raised from auctions raffles and other small donations. A $250 donation was sent to our fiscal agent, Riverlink.
  • It’s on the West Asheville map. The newest edition of the West Asheville map now includes the Hominy Creek Greenway.

Future plans

  • Incorporate. We (most likely) will incorporate as a simple corporation using Riverlink as our 501(c)(3) fiscal agent.
  • Lease the property. We are seriously considering creating a proposal to lease the land from the city. We would  oversee the park and partner with Riverlink in the development of the greenway trail. Leasing would allow us to move forward, freeing the limited resources for other greenway and park projects.
  • Increase educational usage. We are coordinating with Vance Elementary and Francene Delany Schools for educational programs.
  • Get ped/bike count. The greenway will be included on the next ped/bike count.
  • Clean out dump sites. There are three sites where construction materials have been dumped. We hope the city will be able to remove these sites.
  • Clear the property of invasive non-native plants. This is an ongoing project long-term project.
  • Cut the new growth of vines on trees. In the spring we plan to cut the vines and paint the the cuts with appropriate herbicides.
  • Map out plant communities. Over the next year we plan to map out locations of the different plant species to determine plant communities in the park. This information will help us plan replanting.
  • A late spring greenway celebration. We have plans to do an expanded celebration some time in May on the greenway as a fun(d) raiser and greenway educational gathering.
  • Park Naming. We’d like to create a name such as “Hominy Creek Community Nature Preserve” which gives a sense of our location and intention.
  • Finish Historical Research. We are creating a timeline of historical dates for the lower Hominy Creek area including the Sulphur Springs community. We are also creating brief bios of the key people involved in West Asheville’s development. We hope to complete this research this winter.
  • Develop informational signage. We plan to create signs similar to the ones used in Malvern Hills Park and West Asheville Park that highlight the creek restoration.
  • Develop partnerships. We plan to work with Warren Wilson students in mapping plant communities. We hope to partner with other groups such as Asheville Botanical Gardens and the Buncombe Fruit and Nut Club in planning the replanting. Two growers have offered us native plants.

Issues to be resolved

  • We’ve not been able to get a digital or print copy of the survey from the Parks and Recreation department.
  • Trinity Baptist Church has not responded to several requests for obtaining easement.
  • Stormwater from the TBC parking lots and roofs creates a bog in one section and is eroding the trail at the bend.
  • Working through the city bureaucracy maze has been difficult. It would be very helpful to have a liaison who could help guide us.

Wish List

These are items which we hope we can get permission to install and funds to purchase.

  • Signs for each entrance
  • Bike racks
  • Doggie bag stations
  • A kiosk near the dam
  • Informational signage
  • Proper drainage for the storm water problems
  • Trail smoothed
  • Gate for Shelburne entrance