Karen Cragnolin Park

RiverLink signed the first Brownfield agreement in the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay at its historic Cotton Mill Property.  We signed our second Brownfield agreement in the RiverWay at the old EDACO junk yard location on Amboy Rd, adjacent to Carrier Park. This property was entered into the EPA Brownfield program for remediation. It is currently cleaning up volatile organic compounds or VOC’s on a 6 acre former junk yard on Amboy Road that was known as the EDACO Junk yard for over 50 years.

After buying the old junk yard, RiverLink recycled 100,000 tons of concrete into a component of asphalt with the able assistance of D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company.

Thanks to an EPA grant, RiverLink is conducting the first phytoremediation of a junk yard in WNC, possibly the state, using plants inoculated with a bacteria developed from the VOC’s contaminates in the soil to vacuum the soil (nature healing nature).

We are reclaiming the riverfront with your help one greenway, one Brownfield, one historic building at a time. Call us to find out more at 828-252-8474, ext 16.

National Council of Garden Clubs

Developing a park in a former industrial area in the heart of the city requires a lot more than planting trees and shrubs, especially when the land was a former junkyard covered in an 8-foot deep concrete cap. And that is just what we faced at Karen Cragnolin Park. We recycled 100,000 tons of concrete into asphalt, thus keeping it out of the landfill. We are planning to design and build a park on the formerly-contaminated land using the latest technology called phytoremediation, or as we like to say, using Mother Nature to heal Mother Nature.

Karen Cragnolin Park is a 5.33 acre former junkyard and a part of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay nestled between two of the city of Asheville’s most used greenways – French Broad River Park and Carrier Park, a former motor speedway that RiverLink acquired in 1999 and can now boast is the training ground for our hometown Olympic silver medalist, Lauren Tamayo. Transitioning contaminated urban lands to public use forever is what we are doing along the French Broad River thanks to the Founder’s Fund Grant the French Broad River Garden Club awarded to help develop a master plan for this old junkyard.

The goal of phytoremediation is to clean up as much of the old junkyard’s soil as possible so that most, if not all, of the land can be used for public purposes.kc-park-phytoremeidation Under the guidance of a world renowned phytoremediation specialist, RiverLink hydro-seeded the entire 5.33 acres and applied a specially formulated bacteria on about 1.3 acres of the site. We used a Belgian company associated with the Research Triangle Institute in Raleigh/Durham to develop the bacteria using the contaminants in the soil. This bacteria can only live on the Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC’s we discovered in the soil, and as the bacteria eats away, or “vacuums”, the contaminants, the bacterium dies off since its only food source is the VOC’s in the soil.

Using this method of phytoremediation, we are able to clean the site in situ and will not be transporting contaminated dirt to another location. We have also installed a very sophisticated irrigation system, which was particularly difficult since there is no electricity on-site, and we had to almost invent a battery-operated computer-driven irrigation system.

A bear cub’s footprints have been detected at the future park, along with a number of deer prints, woodchucks, and a wide variety of snakes and birds. These animals are all ready to reclaim some of their natural habitat right in the heart of our city.

The first soil tests were conducted on-site after applying the bacterium to determine how well and effectively Mother Nature is healing herself. The soil moisture has been monitored regularly, and a retired National Weather Service PhD was enlisted to help regulate the amount of irrigation needed in relation to the weekly rainfall. The final soil sampling event will soon take place, and a more extensive plan for the property will be completed and implemented upon the analysis of the results.

This is a process that can be replicated and shared throughout the watershed since we, as a community and nation, have inherited much contaminated land from our forefathers.

Karen Cragnolin Park Plan

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"The French Broad River is the third oldest river in the world."

Blue Ridge Heritage National Heritage Area