Woodfin Greenway & Blueway becomes largest funded TPDF project in history
Two previously approved Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) projects – the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway and Enka Recreation Destination – received $6.64 million in additional investment from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) this week. Following review by the Tourism Product Development Fund Committee and a unanimous vote from the BCTDA board of directors, the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway became the largest funded project in the history of the Fund.
BCTDA’s further funding of the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway builds on its existing investment in the River Arts District. The Authority previously granted $7.1 million to leverage City, NCDOT and FDOT dollars to deliver improvements including the Wilma Dykeman Greenway, making the French Broad River more accessible for residents and visitors alike. Similarly, supporting Buncombe County with the completion of the Enka Recreation Destination this year complements BCTDA’s $2.3 million investment in John B. Lewis Soccer Complex.
“These are really going to be great benefits to everyone who spends days along the French Broad River and Saturdays playing ball or soccer at the Sports Park,” says District 3 Commissioner Robert Pressley.
“BCTDA is proud to be a collaborative community partner to enhance the quality of life for residents and create additional amenities for visitors through the Tourism Product Development Fund,” said Vic Isley, president & CEO for Explore Asheville and the BCTDA. “Investing in these types of projects is in full alignment with Explore Asheville’s strategic imperatives that ladder up to broader community goals. For example, the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway will create another riverfront amenity in northern Buncombe County that lessens impact on other areas and opportunities for visitor dispersal. It will also add four river access sites for all types of water craft for residents.”
The Woodfin Greenway & Blueway project includes five miles of greenway trails, Riverside Park and Silver-Line Park on the French Broad River and a world-class Whitewater Wave feature. Since the initial TPDF grant award in 2018, several exciting upgrades warranted the additional investment.
- The Whitewater Wave will be an environmentally sensitive world-class river wave – perfect for a broad range of kayakers and surfers with intermediate to advanced skills. It will be created from a carefully designed and engineered ledge feature made of natural rock and concrete that is installed in the riverbed.
- Extensive fill removal to achieve a “no-rise” flood condition, increased erosion control measures and durable storm drain infrastructure and increased height to create the in-stream Wave structure to accommodate bypass and proper river flow conditions.
- Riverside Park’s footprint has grown by 3.5 acres for a total of 8.6 acres.
- Expanded amenities will include viewing pavilion, terraced boulder seating, rest rooms/changing rooms, 80+ parking lot, picnic shelter, play features, expanded boat launch and widened greenway section.
Silver-Line Park opened earlier this year. Riverside Park and the Wave are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
Woodfin Greenway & Blueway Site Plan
The Enka Recreation Destination will be a premiere sports facility with three turf soccer field conversions, lighting at Bob Lewis Ballpark plus the Enka Heritage Trail, including two miles of greenway. Buncombe County Commissioners recently augmented spending with a matching fund of $750,000 and BCTDA board approved the matching funds in this week’s meeting. The project is scheduled for completion in October 2022.
Since the inception of the TPDF fund in 2001, BCTDA has now invested more than $50 million to 39 community tourism projects. It is funded solely through lodging taxes paid by overnight visitors to Buncombe County.
Phase II applications for the FY23 Tourism Product Development Fund Grant Cycle were due August 31. Awards for this grant cycle will be decided in the October 26 BCTDA board meeting.