Woodfin Greenway & Blueway

Connecting Woodfin to the French Broad River

RiverLink is delighted to be a strategic partner in the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway project. This ambitious $23.2 million effort includes the construction of five miles of greenway along the French Broad River and Beaverdam Creek. The project will also provide new river access sites and will fund development of the new Silver-Line Park as well as expansion of existing Riverside Park, in Woodfin. An exciting and much anticipated feature of the project will be the creation of the in-stream Wave feature for whitewater paddling and surfing enthusiasts.

The planned greenway trails will connect to the larger greenway system being developed in the City of Asheville and beyond, promising a network of more than 25 miles of safe urban paths centering on the French Broad River. The project is being designed and built by the Town of Woodfin, with Buncombe County government supporting the effort with design and construction of the greenway elements of the project.

PROJECT NEWS & UPDATES

  • The master plan for the Riverside Park expansion has been completed and is now available for the public to view.
  • The Town of Woodfin finalized purchase of the former Waste Pro site that will be incorporated into the expansion of Riverside Park.
  • An official groundbreaking ceremony was held for Silver Line Park on July 14th 2020.
  • Equinox Environmental has entered into a contract with the Town of Woodfin to create design documents for the Whitewater Wave and Riverside Park expansion.

French Broad River and Greenways

The ToThe Town of Woodfin’s 5 miles of 10-foot greenway trails will be part of a larger urban trail network that will extend through Asheville and beyond. Beginning at Woodfin’s southern town limit near the intersection of Broadway and Riverside Drive, the French Broad River section will follow the river north to the point where Beaverdam Creek enters the French Broad near the Mill at Riverside. The relatively short Beaverdam Creek section will follow the Creek upstream through its delightfully wooded and secluded gorge to come out near Merrimon Ave at the base of Reynolds Mountain. Over much of the route the greenways will parallel the path of the Craggy Mountain Line excursion railway. The French Broad section of greenway will trace the route of the historic Drovers’ Road, the busy transportation path that connected east Tennessee to South Carolina and preceded the railway era in Buncombe County.

Planning and Design

The French Broad River and Beaverdam Creek Greenways’ Conceptual Design and Feasibility Study was completed in 2011, and provides an outline for the project as well as defines the general routing of the planned greenways. The French Broad River greenway segment, also known as NC Highway 251 greenway, is currently deep into its detailed design phase. Barring any major hurdles, construction for the French Broad River greenway is set to begin before the end of 2023. Although design for the Beaverdam Creek Greenway is anticipated to lag behind, construction is expected to occur simultaneously. The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization, meanwhile, continues to prioritize this 5-mile greenway as one of two NCDOT District 13 priorities.

Costs and Funding

Buncombe County’s current estimate to design, engineer and construct the greenways total $10.3 million. The project utilizes funding allocated by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Development Product Fund, the NCDOT administered federal Surface Transportation Program, Woodfin General Obligation bond referendum, and Buncombe County appropriations. Despite this, private funding is critical to meeting the project budget. Please consider increasing your impact with a donation!

Lead Agency

Buncombe County government, on behalf of the Town of Woodfin pursuant to a memorandum of agreement November 17, 2017. The Town has responsibility for post-project operations and maintenance.

Timeline

  • The basic sequential timeline for the greenway project is as follows:
  • Environmental permitting approval August 2022
  • Right of Way plan approval and beginning of acquisition December 2022 
  • Right of Way certification June 2023
  • Construction Award August 2023
  • Construction completion: 24 months from construction contract award

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Silver-Line Park

The new Silver-Line Park is being built on a 4.5-acre site donated to the Town of Woodfin in 2012 by the Silver family, founders of Silver-Line Plastics. The Park will provide a wide variety of opportunities including access to the river for recreational purposes, a children’s playground, and a connection with the Craggy Mountain Rail Line. Amenities include a trailer-ready boat ramp for river access, generous parking, picnic areas, riverbank restoration, a children’s playground, natural and constructed wetlands, public restrooms and walking trails. The park officially opens April 2022.

Plan for new park along Woodfin Greenway

Planning and Design

The park construction has been divided into two phases. The design, engineering and permitted construction documents for phase 1 are now complete. Phase 2 construction documents have been approved, and construction began in September 2020. Completion of the entire park will be in late 2021.

Costs and Funding

The cost for this park is $3.2 million with secured funding originating from: the Town of Woodfin bond that voters authorized in 2016, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Development Product Fund, and private grants from the Pigeon River Fund and the Cannon Foundation.

Lead Agency

The Town of Woodfin is leading the construction of Silver-Line Park.

Timeline

Construction on Silver-Line Park began in September 2020, and the a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for April 1, 2022.

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Riverside Park Expansion

Riverside Park was originally built in 1998 after the 4-acre site was donated to the Town of Woodfin for that purpose. The Town of Woodfin will expand the current Riverside Park southward by almost 4 additional acres. Riverside Park is one of the most-loved places for recreation in Woodfin, and the expansion doubles the size of the existing area. This move will mean a generous park expansion, including changing rooms and restrooms, an overlook pavilion, and a spectator area to observe action on the Wave; in addition to much better siting for the greenway and Wave, greatly expanded parking, and a seriously needed environmental restoration. A new river access ramp will also be included.

Plan for Riverside Park expansion

Planning and Design

The Master Plan for the expanded park is completed, and the Town purchased the former Waste Pro property adjacent to the existing park in July 2020. This additional land is critical to provide the access and supportive facilities for the Wave, which will be adjacent to the park. Following an extensive public engagement process that netted approximately 700 respondents, design for Riverside Park (led by Equinox) has passed the 30% design milestone.

Costs and Funding

The cost estimate for this project is $6.5 Million. Funding for this project originates from: the Town of Woodfin bonds voters authorized in 2016, Buncombe County Tourism Authority’s Tourism Product Development Fund, and donors and supporters through RiverLink.

Lead Agency

Town of Woodfin is overseeing the design and construction of Riverside Park.

Timeline

The Town of Woodfin has approved the Riverside Park Master Plan and 30% design, as proposed by local landscape architecture firm Equinox Environmental. Design for the park has paralleled that of the Wave due to the dependencies between these 2 recreational assets.

The basic sequential timeline for the Riverside Park project is as follows:

  • Design and permitting are expected to be complete by Fall of 2022
  • Construction award by Fall 2023
  • Construction completion: 18 months from construction contract award

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The Wave

The Whitewater Wave will be a world-class river wave – perfect for a broad range of kayakers and surfers with intermediate to advanced skills. It will be created from a carefully designed and engineered ledge feature, made of natural rock and concrete, that is installed in the riverbed.  A preliminary design and feasibility study was completed for the Wave project in the fall of 2016, and can be viewed here. This conceptual document was supplemented in 2017 by a hydraulic analysis, which may be viewed here. The project’s design consultant, S2o Design and Engineering, indicates that the Whitewater Wave could be very similar to the Camphill Surf Park they designed on the Hawea River in New Zealand. The Wave will be sited adjacent to Riverside Park and the new greenway, in the Town of Woodfin.

Planning and Design

As a subcontractor working with local landscape architecture firm Equinox Environmental, S20 Design and Engineering brings their substantial experience to Woodfin for design of the Wave.

Costs and Funding

The estimated cost for The Wave is $3.2 million. Funds for it originate from the Town of Woodfin bonds that voters authorized in 2016, Friends of the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway, Buncombe County Tourism Authority’s Tourism Product Development Fund and generous donations from private parties.

Lead Agency

Town of Woodfin is overseeing the design and construction of the Wave.

Timeline

  • Design and permitting are expected to be complete by Fall of 2022
  • Construction award by Fall 2023
  • Construction completion: within the first 6 months of the construction contract award for Riverside Park and the Wave

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