Asheville Explores Different Types of Greenways

Asheville officials and other groups hold a meeting Monday night to talk about the city’s greenways. An expert from Knoxville is coming to talk about how greenways can come in many forms, and how unpaved ones are working for Knoxville.

Hominy Creek Greenway is a place the city points to as what’s called a natural surface trail. Connect Buncombe President Marcia Bromberg wants the city to consider adding more.

“I would like to see them incorporated as an option and incorporated as an interim move until the finished, paved, product can be done. That might be 10 years, but that’s OK because then people are still using it, taking advantage of it,” Bromberg said.

A natural surface greenway would be unpaved. The city is going to update its greenway master plan and consider spots where a natural surface trail could work. While this kind of trail could have less cost up front, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheaper.

“Trying to build a natural surface trail in a vulnerable area like a flood plain, or a steep slope in the long run could cost more to maintain than a paved trail,” Lucy Crown, Asheville’s greenways coordinator, said.

Bromberg said volunteers take care of the Hominy Creek Greenway, and Asheville on Bikes founder Mike Sules said natural surface trails would likely need help.

“It’s a call to our community — if we’re going to build these things — calling on our community to maintain them, as well,” Sule said.

He points out to the Beaucatcher Greenway as a spot where a natural surface trail could work. He said it’s worth considering innovating how we create greenways.

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