History & Contributions
of Connect Buncombe
“I believe that greenways, trails and open space, carefully fitted to cities, towns, countrysides, historic waterways and beautiful mountain valleys, fulfill many human needs whether for transportation, health, social equity, environmental betterment, economic development or recreation and fun. Connect Buncombe has always been a spirited partner.”
– Lucy N. Crown, AICP, City of Asheville Greenway Planner and former Buncombe County Parks and Greenways Planner
In 2008, Buncombe County created a Greenway Commission to consider greenway opportunities for the county. The Commission assisted with the development of a Greenways and Trails Master Plan which was approved and adopted by the Buncombe County Commission in September 2012. Soon afterwards the Greenway Commission was disbanded. Several of its members then came together in 2014 to form the 501(c)(3) Friends of Connect Buncombe (operating as Connect Buncombe). These founding members were Ann Babcock, Marcia Bromberg, Suzanne Malloy, Jake McLean, Claudia Nix and Julie White.
Past presidents of Connect Buncombe include:
- Ann Babcock (2014 and 2015)
- Suzanne Malloy (2016)
- Marcia Bromberg (2017)
- Robbie Sweetser (2018)
- Linda Giltz (2019 and 2020)
- Allison Glackin (2021)
Mission & Vision
The mission of Connect Buncombe is to encourage and support the implementation of the Buncombe County Greenways and Trails Master Plan and construction of greenways throughout the county through public awareness, community education, and fundraising activities.
Connect Buncombe works in partnership with Buncombe County, county municipalities, and other like-minded organizations to fulfill its purpose.
Our vision is Buncombe County unified by a connected network of greenways throughout our scenic mountains and vibrant towns. We are a culturally rich community that values health, recreation and quality of life. These pedestrian and bicycle transportation corridors will also encourage visitors to discover our area’s beauty and local businesses to prosper from connections made along the Buncombe Greenways network.
We believe in these six core benefits of greenways:
- Recreation: Greenways promote outdoor recreation for families and individuals at all ability levels, all economic levels and all age levels
- Community: Greenways are accessible to everyone in the community and facilitate social interaction
- Health: Greenways promote healthy lifestyles and help reduce obesity through exercise
- Environment: Greenways are places to explore and connect with nature leading to increased environmental awareness and they provide natural buffer zones that protect creeks and rivers
- Transportation: Greenways provide a safe, alternative transportation infrastructure
- Economy: Greenways encourage economic development for businesses
These six core benefits of greenways relate directly to the social determinants of health established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, therefore, access to greenways can improve health, quality of life and outcomes for the residents of our county.
Donations & Mini-Grants Made by Connect Buncombe
To date Connect Buncombe has donated a total of $95,702 to help “Make Greenways Happen”.
- 2014 $10,000 match for NC-DOT grant for greenway feasibility study from I-26/Brevard Rd. to Lake Julian
- 2015 $7,888 for Hominy Valley Safe Routes to School
- 2015 $2,000 to Black Mountain in support of their greenways
- 2015 $2,614 to Connect Enka
- 2016 $1,500 for Friends of Hominy Creek website redesign
- 2016 $1,000 to Woodfin for bond promotion
- 2017 $10,000 match for French Broad River MPO grant for existing greenway to I-26/Brevard Rd. feasibility study
- 2017 $15,000 to City of Asheville for Swannanoa Greenway feasibility study
- 2017 $3,700 to Friends of Reems Creek
- 2018 $5,000 for the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway Catch the Wave event
- 2019 $20,000 challenge grant to Buncombe County and the City of Asheville for an engineering study for the RADTIP North greenway
- 2019 $5,000 mini-grant to RiverLink for the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway Catch the Wave event
- 2020 $7,000 to the City of Asheville for awareness of the Close the GAP (Greenway, Accessibility and Pedestrian) Master Plan efforts
- (committed) 2021 $5,000 for the College and Market Streets bike lane design
- (committed) 2021 $7,000 for Asheville Unpaved Phase 1 natural surface trail design
- 2014 to 2021 Annual campaigns generating over $105,000 to date, including individual and corporate donations
- 2015 to 2021 Brewing for Greenways has raised over $28,000 to date working with Burial, Highland, Hillman, Hi-Wire, LAB, New Belgium, One World, Sierra Nevada, Thirsty Monk, Twin Leaf, Urban Orchard, Wedge, Wicked Weed and Zebulon
- 2017 to 2019 Industry Nine iPA9 Release Party with Asheville on Bikes
- 2019 Foot Rx Fun Run with 100% of proceeds going to Connect Buncombe
- 2019 and 2021 Sponsorships from Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty for our annual meetings
- 2019 Sponsorship from Lenoir-Rhyne University for our annual meeting
- 2020 Charity of the Month at Asheville Yoga Center
- 2020 and 2021 Charity of the Month at Second Gear
- 2019 and 2021 Support from Blue Ridge Bicycle Club’s WNC Flyer event
- 2019 and 2021 Partnered with Highland Brewing on their Night Flight race with 100% of proceeds going to Connect Buncombe for the development of greenways
Public Engagement & Events
- 2016-2021 Participated in Strive (Not To Drive) annual event with a group of community partners
- 2017 Partnered with the NC Division of Parks and the Recreation Resource Services of NC State University to present a day-long “Growing Greenways: Cultivating Support and Success in Western North Carolina” workshop at the NC Arboretum
- 2018 Participated in Coxe Avenue Tactical Urbanism led by Asheville on Bikes
- 2018 Established Greenway Walks which have spanned multiple years
- 2018-2019 Participated in Open Streets events with community partners
- 2018 Presentations to the Sierra Club, Leadership Asheville and Asheville Newcomers
- 2019 Participated in the Junior League Volunteer Expo
- 2019 Co-sponsored and promoted Asheville’s “Winter Warmer” and Woodfin’s “Catch the Wave” events
- 2019 Worked with Asheville Greenworks on the Hominy Creek Greenway clean-up
- 2020-2021 Developed a greenway map sandwich board and displayed it at various greenway locations and events throughout the county as a creative way to safely engage the public during the pandemic
- 2021 Redesign of the Connect Buncombe website
- 2021 Development of Connect Buncombe’s newest video “A Tour of Our French Broad River Greenway”
- 2021 Worked with RiverLink on the Nasty Branch Clean-up (site of future greenway)
- 2021 Sponsored “The Greenway Challenge” celebrating the completion of the new Wilma Dykeman Greenway, with 425 quiz entries, 120 prizes awarded and 192 individual players
Advocacy & Planning
- 2016 Development of greenway branding options
- 2018 Co-sponsored “Pathways” – A Candidate Forum on the Buncombe County Trail System
- 2019 Provided research and recommendations to Buncombe County staff and Commissioners for the creation of a new Buncombe County Greenways, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
- 2019 Provided input on: I-26/I-240 and Amboy/Meadow Road designs; Swannanoa Greenway; Crossroads proposed development; and Buncombe County Strategic Plan
- 2021 Submitted our wish list for greenways to be considered as part of the Buncombe County Comprehensive Plan 2023
Connect Buncombe is committed to working thoughtfully, consistently and continuously with the governments of Buncombe County, the City of Asheville and other Buncombe County Municipalities in all phases of their official planning and implementation work for greenways, trails and parks.
Connect Buncombe fully supports the equity and inclusion goals of Buncombe County and the City of Asheville, striving to listen carefully to the voices of underserved and minority communities and respond to their needs so that they are given equitable access to the many benefits provided by greenways.
In our actions, priorities, events, partnerships, funding help and other greenway-building commitments, we work with friendliness, open-mindedness and enthusiasm, believing that these qualities are the very essence of Buncombe County greenways. Connect Buncombe is a spirited organization and its members build relationships that can help make greenways happen.
Thank you for your support. Connect Buncombe is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization, and your tax-deductable donation will be used to help us realize our vision of a greenway-connected Buncombe County.
If you prefer to donate by check, please send it to Connect Buncombe, P.O. Box 16100, Asheville, NC 28816.
#GreenwaysPlease 🚴♂️🏃🏼♂️ #makinggreenwayshappen
Encouraging the development and construction of connected greenways in Buncombe county, NC.