Buncombe County, the Town of Woodfin and RiverLink are delighted to report that the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) has just awarded $5.89 million to Woodfin Greenway & Blueway (WGB), completing the essential funding for the $30 million project. On August 31, 2022, the TDA Board approved the Tourism Development Product Fund (TPDF) Committee’s recommendation for additional support of WGB’s original award in 2017.
“The Town of Woodfin is grateful to the TDA Board and Explore Asheville staff for recognizing the significance of this project. Our community is focused on the health of the French Broad River, and one example of that focus is developing recreation opportunities along Woodfin’s waterfront for community members and visitors alike,” says Shannon Tuch, Woodfin Town Manager.
This ambitious seven-year effort includes the construction of five miles of public greenway along the French Broad River and Beaverdam Creek; new river access sites; the creation of Silver-Line Park (which opened in April 2022) as well as an expansion of the existing Riverside Park; and an exciting and much-anticipated Wave feature for whitewater paddling and surfing enthusiasts.
Earlier this month, Wave designers traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, where the Wave reached a significant design milestone. A physical model of the in-stream rock structure confirmed that the project will deliver an environmentally sensitive, world-class wave for recreational and freestyle kayakers. The design also ensures safe passage for fish, wildlife and river users who prefer to bypass the feature. The wave will be constructed simultaneously with an expanded Riverside Park, currently slated for construction beginning in summer of 2023. Greenway construction will follow with completion anticipated in 2025.
The WGB project has received significant financial support from the Federal Highway Administration (via NC Department of Transportation), Buncombe County, the NC Departments of Environmental Quality and Parks & Recreation, private donors including the Silver family, and an earlier grant from the Tourism Development Authority. In 2016, voters in the Town of Woodfin overwhelmingly approved a referendum for $4.5 million in general obligation bonds to support construction.