Wilma Dykeman RiverWay

The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan consolidates 20 years of planning for the redevelopment of the urban riverfront corridor by RiverLink.  The RiverWay Plan was designed to be replicated.  The urban riverfront represents the tax and population base for the watershed and was the perfect place to develop a demonstration plan and project for the entire French Broad River watershed. The RiverWay Plan builds and expands on The Riverfront Plan, developed by RiverLink   in 1989 in cooperation with the AIA and the ASLA, which won the American Planning Association’s Large Scale Planning Award and was adopted by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County as the vision for a revitalized riverfront. In 1991, RiverLink received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a broad spectrum of Design Guidelines for Open Space that addressed issues such as access to the river, signage, public art, landscaping, structures, support facilities and graphics. The Open Space Design Guidelines are now part of the zoning code and have guided river park and river greenway development since their inception. Other planning efforts RiverLink undertook include the master plan/construction drawings it commissioned from Edward. D. Stone, Jr. for French Broad River Park and Greenway.

The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan is a 17-mile greenway linking the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers into a 17-mile continuous greenway with separate walking and biking trails anchored on the south at the NC Arboretum and on the east by the Blue Ridge Parkway and on the north by UNCA. There are actually three plans within the RiverWay Plan:

  1. Addresses specific development zones within the 17 miles.
  2. Transportation engineered drawings to implement the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan.
  3. An economic analysis of the RiverWay detailing the unique opportunity the revitalization of the river offers to further reinforce traditional industries such as arts, crafts, health/wellness, recreation and entrepreneurship.

Each of these plans is available on our website. In addition, we have included the engineered drawings of the RiverWay as well as photos of existing road conditions within the RiverWay. You may also download a power point presentation outlining the essence of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan with a cost benefit analysis that speaks for itself in terms of return on investment, tax base enhancement, bond rating improvement, job creation, mixed-use development and sustainable development.

RiverLink raised over $250,000 to develop The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan from the NCDOT, Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, The Asheville Merchants Association, The Tennessee Valley Authority and Progress Energy. The plan took over two years to complete and involved numerous focus groups and public meetings, that encouraged a broad cross-section of our community to share their ideas.

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded a $600,000 grant – to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the RiverWay to the City of Asheville. The NCDOT has included the RiverWay in several of its projects. Most notably it has funded a two mile trail from the old speedway to Hominy Creek Park as well as walking and bike trails along route NC-191 leading towards the NC Arboretum.  The $600,000 dollar federal  highway grant was actually  appropriated from of our local DOT  district budget not federal highway funds.

**[right click the link and select ‘Save Target As’ to download the file.]


Greenway Benefits [...]

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Economic Development

Wilma Dykeman Economic Report  Economic Benefits of Land Conservation – North Carolina 2009  Tourism Hunting and Fishing Outdoor Recre[...]

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Land Use

Land use concepts are covered in the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan Open Space Guidelines. Open Space Design Guidelines [...]

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Architectural Features

Wilma Dykeman Architecture [...]

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

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