It is practically impossible to live in Western North Carolina and not know about the construction of New Belgium’s East Coast Brewery located on the river in West Asheville. As a whole Asheville is looking forward to the opening of this brewery not just because of the delicious beer and awesome tasting room that we are expecting, but also because of the jobs this new employer brings to our community.
Perhaps less well known is the investment that the City of Asheville is making on this former brownfield site. All, even those of us who will not be partaking of the bubbly brew that our new neighbor will be producing using the abundant and clean water available in our community, can appreciate the improvements that the city is making.
The award winning New Belgium section of the French Broad River Greenway is now under construction. Yes it has already won an award even though it is not yet complete. Below is a photo that shows the various layers in the process of building the greenway path. Starting from the bottom up, the existing soil in the location of the trail was compacted (run over repeatedly with heavy machinery). Then a special fabric was placed on top of this to help with the longevity of the trail. On top of this was placed 8 inches of gravel stone which was compacted. This is what you can see in the image below. On top of the gravel is the first course of asphalt. The final layer will be applied before completion. We also added conduit so if in the future the City wants to add lighting or has a need to run electricity, it can easily be done.
As you can see there are bits and pieces of the project that are nearing completion, but we still have a long way to go, such as stabilizing the slopes, adding railings, planting trees, and more. There are a number of factors, from weather to the coordination of multiple entities, and the complexity of building this section of the greenway that make this a slower process than most of us would like, so we don’t yet have an anticipated opening date. Please be patient. The staff at Equinox is as anxious as anybody to get out there and enjoy this stretch, but it is important that no one try to hike this section until it is complete as it is not safe to do so in its unfinished condition.
Construction has not yet begun on the greenway trailhead, but the design is complete and the contractors are ready to go. Check back here for future articles about that beautiful landmark destination.