Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Art Fun @ Phil Mechanic

Jolene Mechanic is an amazing woman full of boundless ideas and actions.  She worked with a group of children from the W.C. Reid Center over on Livingston Street and in six weeks, got an amazing amount of creativity to manifest.  Those of us lucky enough to show up on February 18th got to see & hear about all the endeavors of our next generation of artists.  A warm thank you to Jolene for all she does for our neighborhoods!

Urban Bike Skills Park Update

Shaun from SORBA and Mike Kenton from WECAN met with Jeff Moore from the DOT yesterday, and here are the results:

1) Jeff Moore made it VERY clear that the NC DOT will not allow an official bike park to be built in that space. It is designated as "controlled access right-of-way", and they just will not allow it no matter what. Their main concerns are liability for injury and access to do repairs/maintenance on the bridge, and while we were prepared with our solutions to these issues, those ideas didn't change his stance. He did say that if people rode bikes down there, without their endorsement, they would do nothing to chase them away, but Shaun and Mike agreed that if we were to try to move forward with this project, it should be handled properly and officially.

2) Jeff Moore said the DOT might consider some extension of the greenway plan in the area to include parts of that space, but again, we would probably run into issues, because of its designation.

3) The only good news came when Mike asked Jeff about the DOT clearing all the underbrush and vines, etc in the area. He indicated that he thought they could take care of that, to help with the safety of the area, and the appearance. Mike is to email Jeff with a written request, which Mike sent 2-19-11, and Jeff will submit this request.  Jeff indicated that the NC DOT would probably do the cleaning up and clearing.

From Mike Kenton:
Thank you to all who have been involved in this project. We didn't get the result most of us were hoping for, but all is not lost. I learned a lot and made some really good connections that should help with neighborhood issues moving forward. Shaun is going to look at some of the other places SORBA has considered in town. And I will be organizing some cleanup days in that space this spring, to either supplement DOT's work, or to tackle it all if they fail to deliver.

I hope to see you all at the next WECAN meeting on March 3rd, where we can go over any new developments. Thanks again to all involved.



On Thursday, February 17, 2011, a group of 5 volunteers from Warren Wilson College's farm met Pattiy Torno in Owens-Bell Park.  Along with volunteers Doug Yancy, proprietor of Yancy Landscaping & his second, Dan, these folks helped clear a large portion of the creek that runs thru OBP of the Black Willow that has been choking out the aquatic plants installed in the creek to help clean the water as it passes thru this park.  That is WIN #1.  The WIN #2 part is that WWC was in need of live Black Willow stakes to help stabilize a recently restructured stream bank on the farm, so friday morning, Pattiy drove out to WWC to make photos of where our willow bits get to live... The WIN #3 part is that WECAN neighbors have been complaining about how overgrown the creek has been in the past few years so that also has been addressed.  Special thanks goes out to Jon Calabria, who gave us all the lessons on how to harvest live Black Willow stakes as well as designing and building this storm water retention garden.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Black Artists: Yesterday & Today • February 18, 2011 @ Phil Mechanic

Experience a showcase of art and spoken word presentations created by youth from the W.C. Reid Center.  This event culminates a project provided by the Flood Gallery in Phil Mechanic Studios, to connect community youth with local and influential African-American artists. Music and light refreshments provided.  Admission is free.  Just show up between 5 & 7pm on Friday February 18, 2011 @ 109 Roberts Street in the River Arts District. For more information, contact Randy Shaw at 828-350-2048.  Here is the W.C. Reid Activity Newsletter for winter/spring 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

WECAN February 2011 Board Meeting Minutes • Draft

West End Clingman Avenue Neighborhood Board Meeting Thursday February 4, 2011 at Merritt Park. Board Members present were:Byron Ballard, Joe Fioccola, Yuri Koslen,  Luke W. Perry and Pattiy Torno. Not present were: Jeff Carnivale, Jessie Coleman, Bret Frk, Thomas Gibson, Geraldine Melendez and Jose Ruiz .  Also present were Joanne Skinner, Officer Evan Coward, Mike Kenton and Marsha Stickford.

    Pattiy called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm. Go around introductions/ review agenda. Minutes Approved by acclamation as distributed.
APD CRO update: Joanne read a notice that a break in cleaned out 26 Rector Street. She had been broken into 5 years ago when she first moved in and did press charges against the suspect. Luke’s house on Club St was broken into twice before he moved in but not since.  Organizing a Neighborhood Watch was discussed as part of a bigger goal of improving lines of communication, getting to know neighbors, and getting help when needed to handicapped and elders in WECAN. Officer Coward requested about 45 minutes of a future meeting to organize it. His office number is 251-4078. Pattiy will put out info in a WECAN Newsflash  to get the ball rolling identifying potential block captains. Other ideas include a meet and greet/ pot luck, a walk through ending up at the Wedge, getting flyers off the web and posting to the neighborhood. A consensus gelled about organizing the neighborhood for the neighborhood and crime prevention was a secondary benefit.
            Luke reported on a networking meeting with the Hillcrest Neighborhood. Luke and Pattiy met with Trina Boyd of Asheville Housing Authority and Teresa from Hillcrest to begin introducing ourselves and the potential opportunity to work together to our mutual benefit. Luke learned that there are facilities at Hillcrest for meeting, Head Start, After School programs even cooking classes. We can begin by cross posting our events and their events. The first event is this Saturday February 5th My Brother’s Keeper is having a cleanup day from 10-3 and the rescheduled Meeting about the Pedestrian Bridge which was canceled from January 8 due to weather. Officers Allen Dunlap and Jackie Stepp will share ideas from CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.) They have already identified some issues such as replacing lights, clearing brush and repairing sidewalks. The meeting begins at the Community Center and after presentations will walk over the bridge to identify issues.
Mike reported that the Bike Skills Park Committee met with Sean to get ideas for SORBA . With permission from NC-DOT they have scheduled a walk through meeting this Saturday Feb 5 from 11-12  beginning at the Hatchery. (dress appropriately) It is a secure area and even for the DOT to consider ideas is unprecedented.  Their immediate plans are to research other encroachments in North Carolina. Marsha suggested a meeting with DOT and Mike will call Monday afternoon to set one up. Luke reported that the SWOT Analysis was posted on Google Docs. Pattiy will put a link on the next News Flash.
Briefly some of the Strengths included designing for crime prevention, eyes on the street, wide age range of users, benefits to local business, people in the neighborhood, encourage biking, a meeting place, bridge WECAN and Hillcrest neighborhoods. Weaknesses:may be a greater benefit to people from outside the neighborhood, maintenance and oversight, unprecedented for Norfolk Southern Railroad and NC-DOT. Threats: potentially displacing an old crime problem with new ones, uncertainty about the I-26 Connector, personal liability and funding. Opportunities: connecting neighborhoods to greenways and a model for other communities. Other considerations: not on any Parks and Recreation Master plan, Capital Improvement Plan, Neighborhood Plan, not city controlled, unprecedented for NC-DOT or NS-RR. Next steps: Meet after Saturday’s walk to develop next steps for WECAN, SORBA, City Council, NCDOT, NSRR involvement and alternatives.
Aston Park: Marsha announced a meeting set for Monday February 7 at 2 p.m. at Aston Park Tennis Center Club House. To discuss the issue of the Civil War marker. Jeff Carnivale, Debi Miles and Rebecca Lamb will begin to outline the process that placed it there and what will be needed to move it.
Ice Storage Building. Evan reported that the city met with Ice Plant owners and it has been posted no trespassing. The police and fire departments have posted no-entry orders because it is too dangerous to enter the building. Building Safety has given the owners 60 days to come up with a plan to secure the building or it will be razed and a lien placed on the property.  
Pattiy reported that Warren Wilson College was interested in working on stream cleanup at Owens Bell Park. Not sure if in coordination with John Calabria. Some training or instructions are needed. A date for a Garden Club Cleanup was set for Saturday March 12 from 8 (for the gung-ho) or 9 (for the slackers) until 2. The Warren Wilson group may join in or set another date. Discussion of the bind that Asheville Parks and Recreation and the city are in regarding playground equipment (such as basketball hoops) in Owens Bell Park and complying with ADA and construction requirements.
Adopt-a Highway clean up was set for Monday Feb 7 at 9 am meet at the  corner of Clingman and Hilliard.
           Pattiy distributed a letter reconnecting with the owners of the Hot Spot at 79 Asheland Ave. noting that since the departure of Selena Sullivan the situation is deteriorating with public drinking, loitering and menacing behavior.
Pattiy reported on the Public Meeting of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project; (WDR-RADTIP) at AB Tech Ferguson Auditorium on Saturday January 22 from 9-12. She advised that 70 people attended and many ideas were brought forth. She has a disk of the ideas and summarized some of them  as several roadway realignments on Riverside between Amboy and Hill St. including roadways, bike lanes, greenways, medians,  roundabouts, alternate routes, pedestrian railroad crossings and canoe/kayak landing points. After the information is posted on the city website there will be a 30 day comment period.
Fence on Riverside Drive The issue of fence removal and Review of WECAN By-laws was moved to the  agenda for March. 
Meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola


Saturday Feb 5:                     10 a.m. -3         Hillcrest Ped Bridge Walk Through: Hillcrest Comm Ctr
Saturday Feb 5:                     11a.m.-1200    Bike Skills Park Committee: meet at Hatchery
Monday Feb 7:                       9 a.m.-10:30   Adopt-a Highway Litter Pick up: Clingman/Hilliard
Monday Feb 7                       2 p.m.-3 p.m.  Aston Park Civil War Marker Meeting
Thursday Mar 3                    6:30 p.m.-8     WECAN Board Meeting
Saturday Mar 12                   9 a.m.-2 p.m.  Owens Bell Park Garden Club Work Day