Southside Community Stormwater Project

Southside Community Stormwater Project

Completed in June 2023, the Southside Community Stormwater Project was a collaborative effort to address water quality issues and the needs of a marginalized community. RiverLink partnered with residents of the Southside Community, Wildlands Engineering, and the Asheville Housing Authority to construct green stormwater infrastructure features that capture and filter runoff before it reaches Nasty Branch and the French Broad River and provide community amenities at Erskine Apartments.

Erskine Apartments is an Asheville Housing Authority complex situated in the historic African American Southside Community. Residents in this community are still feeling the negative impacts of Urban Renewal. Between 1951 and 1975, hundreds of homes and businesses owned by Black families were destroyed. Today, 39.5% of the residents live below the poverty line- 3x the Buncombe County rate of 12.2% (American Community Survey, 2019).

The project aimed to promote social equity by providing amenities designed by residents through a stakeholder engagement process, including safe walking paths, a shaded outdoor gathering area, edible plants, and a memorial garden. See the master plan by Wildlands Engineering and Site Design Studios.

Before Construction

Parking lots and rooftops drained to Nasty Branch
Concrete ditch carried runoff to Nasty Branch
Wetland overflowed onto parking lot and was filled with non-native invasive plants

After Construction

Concrete ditch replaced with green stormwater infrastructure
Stormwater wetland protects residential parking lot and Nasty Branch from runoff
Southside Community ribbon cutting celebration