The City of Asheville and New Belgium Brewing Company received an American Trails National Trails Award for a greenway designed by Equinox. Kim Williams, Environmental and Recreation Planner at Equinox, applied for the award on behalf of the public private partnership.
The New Belgium section of the French Broad Greenway is critical because of it prominent location in the River Arts District. The new trailhead and parking area is sorely needed for both the greenway and river access, and it serves as a critical connection to West Asheville.
The south end of the proposed greenway begins at Haywood Road, a major connector to West Asheville, at a newly designed bus shelter coordinated by Asheville Design Center.. This section of greenway features seating and overlook areas along the French Broad River in addition to other low maintenance, high-impact landscape features for a unique stretch of trail. A major feature intersecting the greenway is the restoration of the heavily degraded Penland Creek that drains several acres of West Asheville including a portion of Haywood Road. A 50-foot pedestrian bridge spans the creek and small “holler” abundantly planted with native riparian vegetation. A prominent multi-tiered drop pool structure is located below the bridge providing both visible and audible cues to the stream. Due to existing conditions, extensive wall systems are utilized along the greenway to minimize grading and tree removal, to achieve ADA accessibility and reduce the overall impact to the floodway and floodplain.
The north end of this project will be at the Craven Street Trailhead, a “Landmark” trailhead for the City. The trailhead will feature way finding and interpretive signage, a shade structure, a bike repair station, monumentation, vehicle and bike parking, materials salvaged from site and readapted to seating, and an art installation. Permeable paving in the trailhead’s parking lot will capture much of the surrounding area’s stormwater. Improvements to the trailhead area will provide critical connections to the Craven Street Bridge, one of the few crossings of the French Broad River in the River Arts District.
This innovative partnership is a once in a lifetime opportunity that the City of Asheville, New Belgium, and especially visitors and residents will benefit from for generations. Equinox is very pleased to provide design for the greenway, the restoration of Penland Creek, the streetscape on Craven Street, and the integrated stormwater treatment on the brewery site. As greenway development in the Southeast continues to explode, the partnership and project will continue to serve as a model for other like-minded cites.