Friday, November 9, 2007

Richmond Hill Inn Tea

by Staff Reports (Citizen Times
published October 26, 2007 7:53 am

ASHEVILLE – There's a tea party and silent auction next month at Richmond Hill Inn to benefit RiverLink.

The event is planned from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. The silent auction will feature locally made arts, crafts and jewelry in the area. The Inn will be fully decorated in classic holiday style.

Guests can enjoy live performance paintings by nationally known River District artist Jonas Gerard with live auctions of the pieces to follow. Jonas' theatrical painting style is appreciated by children and adults alike. With exciting music Jonas creates energetic art that guests take home, with a winning bid, as a memento of this unique event (

The cost is $14.95 per person. Reservations are necessary, and can be made by calling Richmond Hill Inn reservations at 252-7313. If you are out of town, their toll free number at 888-742-4536.

Concrete cleanup at former junk yard

Pounding the ground

The concrete is coming up on the Amboy Road site where a junkyard once sat.

Big crush: Concrete removal is underway at the former EDACO junkyard — site of the future Karen Cragnolin River Park. Photo By Jonathan Welch

The nonprofit RiverLink purchased the EDACO salvage-yard property last year for the bargain-basement price of $900,000. The 5.33-acre site will provide a crucial link in the organization’s greenway plan, connecting Carrier and French Broad River parks and completing a seamless stretch of parks from one end of Amboy Road to the other.

The piles of junked cars were quickly removed, but the lot remained sealed in concrete while required testing and research was conducted. Now, for the next couple of weeks, a gigantic machine will pound the concrete, breaking it away from its 50-year home.

“And then,” exclaims RiverLink Executive Director Karen Cragnolin, “We’ll build a park! It’s very exciting.”

Of course, she concedes that things aren’t that easy. Once the concrete is ripped up, it will take another few weeks to ship it to the companies that will recycle it as asphalt or fill for construction projects.

The Southeast-based D.H. Griffin and Co. is demolishing and removing the 120,000 tons of concrete for free and helped acquire necessary permits for the demolition, Cragnolin says.

Once the site is cleared and seeded, phase-two surveys will test for residual effects of the junkyard on the land underneath, a process that will take at least a year. That testing will be funded in part by a brownfield grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The new park, named after Cragnolin by the RiverLink board of directors, will be a new chapter for a parcel with a varied pedigree. Before its junkyard days, the land was once part of Asheville’s first airport, did a little time as a duck pond and served as part of the Asheville Speedway, which once operated at the present-day Carrier Park site.

With some time before construction starts, RiverLink is polling the public to find out what uses the park should serve (see the survey at Like the neighboring parks have been, the Karen Cragnolin River Park will be turned over to the city of Asheville once completed.

Friday, October 5, 2007

RiverLink Acquires Another Missing Link

The RiverLink board of directors is proud to announce that RiverLink, Inc. acquired the former B&H Sheet Metal Buildings at 115 through 119 ½ Riverside Drive, locally known as the “Blue Buildings”.

RiverLink’ mission is the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its watershed as a destination to live, work and play.

Dick Hall, Chairman of the Board at RiverLink said, “This is what people see when they cross the Smoky Park Bridge. It is Asheville’s front door with over 100,000 cars a day crossing the bridge and looking down at the river – the view is about to become much more welcoming. We are anxious to continue our work with area governments and the community at large to reclaim this precious piece of the floodway for the public in perpetuity and continue to implement the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay.”


RiverLink Receives Grants for Stream Restoration!

Hominy Creek in West Asheville and Robinson Creek in Arden will soon be taking on a new and improved look.

RiverLink was recently the recipient of two grants from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to restore and improve the water quality and habitat in several area streams. The banks along both streams will stabilized with rocks and logs, strategically placed to protect the stream, look natural, and improve the habitat in the stream.

The water quality in Hominy Creek will be improved by working on two feeder streams in West Asheville. These include Buttermilk Creek in Malvern Hills Park and Rhododendron Creek in West Asheville Park. Buttermilk Creek was recently named as part of RiverLink’s name that stream contest, and is now getting a face lift. Over time the stream banks have become so eroded a safety fence was installed to prevent anyone from falling off the tall steep banks. As the banks are restored there will also be a significant amount of native plants to shade the stream and guarantee stability over time.

Robinson Creek in Arden will receive a heavy dose of river trees and shrubs. This creek was the former site of the Brookwood Golf Course, and is now being developed for residential housing. With the help of this grant, part of this development will include a 20 acre conservation easement and improved water quality and habitat.

RiverLink recently completed the stream restoration on the Swannanoa River at Azalea Park. This prevented tons of pollution from entering the stream each year and provided for a much improved recreation and fishing hole. These projects help RiverLink continue its mission toward the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River as a place to live, work, and play.

For more information visit or contact Hartwell Carson at or at 828-252-8474 ext. 114.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Become a Member of Team RiverLink

Have you ever thought about getting more involved in Western North Carolina? RiverLink has numerous volunteer opportunities and welcomes any amount of time you may have to give.

On Wednesday, November 7, RiverLink's is holding its' monthly training session for future volunteers. Come to RiverLink's headquarters (170 Lyman Street) at 3:30 p.m.

A 30 minute presentation will give an overview of RiverLink's mission and background and ongoing and special events volunteer opportunities. You will have a chance to ask questions, fill out a volunteer application, and speak with the Volunteer Coordinator about your interests and availability.

RSVP to or call us at 252-8474, ext 118

Friday, February 2, 2007

RiverLink Announces RiverWise Award Winners for 2006

RiverLink is proud to honor and announce the 2006 RiverWise Award winners. RiverLink chose these projects for exhibiting outstanding achievements and efforts to protect the land and water quality in our community. According to the NC Public Interest Research Group (NCPIRG), the French Broad River watershed is the fastest growing area in the state of North Carolina. With this fact in mind, the RiverLink Board of Directors and staff decided to recognize individuals, institutions, and private for-profit developments that celebrate and protect the wonderful watershed we call home.

Individual RiverWise Award Winner This year as an individual RiverWise Award recipient, we are please to recognize Whitney Galloway, from Transylvania County. Whitney conducted his senior project in the fall of 2006, cleaning the east fork of the French Broad River. He organized two river cleanup teams on two different weekends enlisting the help of 16 other volunteers to clean 4 miles of stream and remove 8,700 lbs of trash, which included washing machines, hot water heaters, toilets, 60 tires and an old bed frame. Whitney’s team conducted water quality tests both before and after the clean–ups.

Institutional RiverWise Award Winner This year we are pleased to recognize the Asheville Middle School River Corps Team. This group of 15 students provides a wonderful example how middle school kids working together can empower themselves with “hands on activities” and take actions designed to improve water quality. The River Corps Team has conducted river clean-ups and tree plantings. They have had field trips to the outdoor wetlands classroom at Carrier Park and their teachers are including educational environmental lessons into their curriculum.

Private Developer RiverWise Award This year we were unable to identify any private developments in the French Broad River watershed meriting recognition as a RiverWise recipient. No private development was nominated by any other entity and no developer nominated himself or herself. We set the bar for recognizing private development very high in 2005 when we recognized the Dover’s Road Project.

In 2005, RiverLink awarded Constance Rauscher the RiverWise award for an individual; for an institution we recognized Evergreen Charter School and for an outstanding private development we honored the Drovers’ Road Preserve.

RiverLink offers three awards programs each year:

Critical Links reconizing volunteers who go above and beyond;
RiverBusiness (with Asheville SCORE) designed to recognize new businesses on the river that help implement the vision of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay; and RiverWise awarded to individuals, institutions and private development whose actions help protect water quality and preserve and protect our watershed.

For more information about RiverLink or to get involved please, visit our website at

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Monthly volunteer info/ training sessions

Monthly volunteer info/ training sessions

*Starting in November 2007 the info sessions will be on FIRST Wednesdays of each month at 3:30 p.m.and FIRST Fridays at 12:15

2007 dates: November 2 (Friday), 7 (Wednesday) December 5 (Wednesday), 7 (Friday)

RiverLink offices, 170 Lyman St.

Open to the public- please RSVP to

Come to RiverLink to find out all about how YOU can get involved in our efforts to revitalize the French Broad watershed! A 30 minute presentation will give an overview of RiverLink's mission and background and ongoing and special events volunteer opportunities. You will have a chance to ask questions, fill out a volunteer application, and speak with the Volunteer Coordinator about your interests and availability.

Riverfront Bus Tour

RiverFront Bus Tour

Where: Meet at Asheville City Hall

Third Thursdays, 12:00-2:00pm

2007 dates: Nov 15, Dec 20

Come tour the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers with RiverLink and witness their magic first hand. This is an opportunity to see the improvements that have occurred and hear what is coming over the next several months and years to make our rivers a better place to work, live and play. You will also learn some local history and visit some streets and neighborhoods you have never seen before.

If you ever wondered about the river development project – this is your opportunity to see and hear about the plans for the future. The bus will meet you in front of Asheville City Hall and return to City Hall.

This tour is free for RiverLink members. Non-members cost $15.00 per person. Lunch is not provided but you can bring your own. Reservations are a must – so call us at 828- 252-8474 x118 or email to make your reservation today. Members click here to register online.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Stream restoration on the banks of the Swannanoa River at Azalea Park

Swannanoa Dresses Up After Stream Restoration

Fisherman are always hesitant to give up the location of a good fishing hole, but after the completion of a 1.2 stream restoration along the Swannanoa River, the restoration workers from North State Environmental were proud to share their secrets. As they moved heavy rocks and trees with the flick of their back hoes, they bragged about the fishing improving overnight. This project, in Asheville’s Azalea Park was designed to protect the rapidly eroding stream banks from continuing to dump hundreds of tons of sediment (dirt) into the Swannanoa River. Sediment is the number one polluter throughout the French Broad Watershed, including the Swannanoa River. It is detrimental to aquatic life, but by installing rocks and logs to protect stream banks, a prime trout fishing location was enhanced, right in the city of Asheville.

North State Environmental and RiverLink recently finished planting the stream banks to ensure continued stream bank protection, as well as enhancing aquatic life habitat. This is the end of a long effort by RiverLink to secure funding, hire an engineering firm, and a construction contractor. RiverLink received a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, to help improve the water quality and make it a place to swim and fish again. Wolf Creek Engineering provided the design and expertise on how to protect stream banks and improve water quality. North State Environmental then came in and constructed the log and rock veins that will ensure a fully functioning stream in the future.

Because of the ever expanding pace of poorly planned developments, erosion continues to be a problem in our local waterways. This stream restoration will protect the stream banks, including the largest wetland in Buncombe County, and provide oxygen and fish habitat. Root wads from trees were also inserted into several sections of stream to improve fish habitat. Since the secret is out, cast a line and see the improvement along the Swannanoa River.