The Craven Street Watershed drains the area from Haywood Road to Westwood Place and down Haywood to the French Broad River. The watershed has one main stream which begins next to Steebo’s Gallery and parallels Waynesville Ave, as it flows to the French Broad River. Originally, this stream was un-named, but the surrounding community voted to name it Penland Creek as part of a Name That Creek project spearheaded by RiverLink. Penland Creek bisects the New Belgium Property, although historically the stream turned toward the south, entering the French Broad River just north of the RiverLink Bridge. The property along the river was once a construction landfill, which altered the river corridor. The stream was straightened, flattened and redirected to the French Broad River. The watershed covers approximately 240 acres of predominantly residential use in eastern West Asheville.
The Craven Street Improvement Project was a public infrastructure project, in conjunction with the City of Asheville, RiverLink Inc., and New Belgium Brewing Company. The project included realignment of Craven Street, improved pedestrian transportation, stormwater management and water quality improvement in Penland Creek bisecting the New Belgium property. RiverLink received $400,000 in grant funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to support the construction of numerous stormwater BMPs, stream enhancement, stormwater retention, and low impact development practices, to improve the water quality in the stream and French Broad River. The Craven Street project aimed to capture and treat the first inch of stormwater from the neighborhood through a variety of stormwater quality mechanisms. This included bioretention areas, bioswales along the roadway, rain gardens in parking lots, and constructed wetlands throughout the site. The project, completed in spring 2017, has improved the stream corridor, through bank stabilization, native plantings, and contouring of the stream bank. Additionally, New Belgium is capturing rainwater for irrigation purposes. These stormwater improvements will capture and treat rainwater before entering the stream, reducing erosion, and volume of stormwater runoff. In addition, kiosk signs were placed on-site to aid in public education about the restoration project.
RiverLink’s Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan consolidates 20 years of planning for the redevelopment of the urban riverfront corridor and has been adopted by the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, regional planning groups and over 40 civic organizations as the vision for a revitalized riverfront. The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan is a 17-mile greenway linking the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers into a continuous greenway with walking and biking trails anchored on the south by the NC Arboretum, on the east by the Blue Ridge Parkway and on the north by UNCA. The New Belgium Brewery is a central anchor along the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. In late 2016, a 0.5-mile section of greenway through the New Belgium site was opened, connecting from French Broad River Park to Craven Street and the RiverLink Bridge, thus linking west Asheville neighborhoods to the River Arts District. Additional sections along the French Broad River in the River Arts District are to be expanded in the near future.