Woodfin Greenway & Blueway

Woodfin greenway & blueway rendering

Connecting Woodfin to the French Broad River

The Greenway & Blueway project is an ambitious $18.1 million effort to construct five miles of greenway along the French Broad River and Beaverdam Creek. The project will 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 Recreation Services 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.
  • An official groundbreaking ceremony was held for Silver Line Park on July 14th 2020.

French Broad River and Beaverdam Creek Greenways

The Town of Woodfin’s 5 miles of new greenway trails will be part of a larger urban trail network that will extend through Asheville and beyond. Beginning at the Woodfin town limit near the intersection of Broadway and Riverside Drive, the French Broad River section will follow the river to the point where Beaverdam Creek enters the French Broad near Riverside Business Park.  The relatively short Beaverdam Creek section will follow the Creek upstream through its delightfully wooded and secluded gorge to come out near Merrimon Ave.  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. While current NCDOT cash flow challenges have delayed the County from executing a contract with the selected firm to design, engineer and develop permitted construction documents, the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization at its June 25, 2020 meeting prioritized these greenways as one of two NCDOT District 13 priorities to restart once its cash reserves are replenished. 

Costs and Funding

Buncombe County’s current estimate to design, engineer and construct the greenways total $9 million and utilize funding already allocated by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Agency’s Tourism Development Product Fund, and the NCDOT administered federal Surface Transportation Program. Despite Private funding is critical to meeting the project budget. Please help with a donation!

Lead Agency

Buncombe County Recreation Services on behalf of the Town of Woodfin pursuant to a memorandum of agreement November 17, 2017.

Timeline

While we cannot say when NCDOT will approve the drafted agreement between Buncombe County and the design consultant, the basic sequential timeline upon start is as follows:

  • Design, engineering and construction documents: 1 year from start
  • Permitting: 9 months
  • Construction Firm Selected: 6 months
  • Construction: 15 months.

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Silver-Line Park

The new Silver-Line Park will be built on a 4.5-acre site donated to the Town of Woodfin in 2012 by Silver-Line Plastics and the Silver family. 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. Planned amenities include a trailer-ready boat ramp for river access, generous parking, picnic areas, stream bank restoration, a children’s playground, and walking trails. The existing commercial building may be converted into public restrooms, an outfitter that will provide bicycle and watercraft rentals, and possibly a small museum dedicated to railroad history in the region. The greenway trail will run through the site as well.  

Plan for new park along Woodfin Greenway

Planning and Design

The park construction has been divided into two phases and the design, engineering and permitted construction documents for phase 1 are now complete. Phase 2 construction documents are currently under permitting review with the expectation that construction will commence later in 2020 with completion in early 2021.

Costs and Funding

The budget for this park is $2.9 million with secured funding originating from the Town of Woodfin bonds voters authorized in 2016, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Development Product Fund, and private grants from the Pigeon River Fund, Duke Energy and Cannon.

Lead Agency

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

Timeline

Phase 1 commences July, 2020 and Phase 2 in the Fall, of 2020. The park’s construction will be completed by early, 2021.

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Riverside Park Expansion

Riverside Park was originally built in 1998 after the site was donated to the Town of Woodfin by the owners of nearby Riverside Business Park. The Town of Woodfin recently announced plans to expand the current Riverside Park southward by almost four acres.  Riverside Park is one of the most-loved place for recreation in Woodfin, and the expansion will almost double the size of the existing area. This move will mean a generous park expansion project, much better siting for the greenway and the Wave project, greatly expanded parking, and a seriously needed environmental restoration.  A new river access ramp suitable for trailers will also be included.  

Plan for Riverside Park expansion

Planning and Design

The Master Plan for the expanded park is completed. The Town has also completed most due diligence for the acquisition of land adjacent to the park and is finalizing purchase negotiations. The Town purchased the property 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.

Costs and Funding

The budget for this project is $3.4 Million. Funding for this project originates from the Town of Woodfin bonds voters authorized in 2016, Friends of the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway, Buncombe County Tourism Authority’s Tourism Development Product Fund and the NCDOT administered federal Surface Transportation Program (Direct Attributable).

Lead Agency

Town of Woodfin

Timeline

With the imminent and expected Town of Woodfin Commission’s approval of the Master Plan, the next step is to solicit proposals and hire a consultant to design, engineer and produce permitted construction documents. The following estimated milestones and timing is based upon approval of the Master Plan.

  • Develop design, engineering and construction documents: 12 months.
  • Construction: 15 months.

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The Wave

The Whitewater Wave will be a world-class river wave – perfect for a broad range of river adventurers from novice to whitewater expert. It will be created from a carefully designed and engineered ledge feature, made of natural rock and concrete, and 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. The project’s design consultant, S2o Design and Engineering, indicates that it could be very similar to the Camp Hill Surf park project they designed on the Hawea River in New Zealand.  Great video of that wave, available on YouTube, is linked here. The Wave will be sited adjacent to Riverside Park and the new greenway.

Woodfin blueway wave rendering

Planning and Design

A consultant has been identified and execution of a contract to proceed is pending confirmation. The Wave design will demand a thorough study to determine its impacts to the river, especially during flood events.

Costs and Funding

The budget for The Wave is $2.1 million. Funds for it originate from the Town of Woodfin bonds voters authorized in 2016, Friends of the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway, Buncombe County Tourism Authority’s Tourism Development Product Fund and generous donations from private parties.

Lead Agency

The Town of Woodfin

Timeline

  • Preliminary Design 2 months
  • Permitting: 6 months
  • Design development/construction documents: 7 months

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