From John Boyle, for the Asheville Citizen Times, comes this article < https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2022/01/24/karen-cragnolin-asheville-pioneer-river-revitalization-has-died/6637153001/ > celebrating Karen Cragnolin’s life and service to conservation and revitalization of our natural assets here in Western North Carolina and beyond.
Charles Worley, “Cragnolin’s importance to riverfront redevelopment can’t be understated. I think Karen has been the most significant leader of the redevelopment of the river and park areas along the river that we’ve had,” Worley said. “What she started with RiverLink years ago is reflected in what the river is today, and that it is an extremely important part of the arts of Asheville and Western North Carolina, and the whole redevelopment of that area along the river.”
RiverLink will honor Cragnolin’s life and accomplishments later this year. The long-awaited Karen Cragnolin Park < https://riverlink.org/projects/karen-cragnolin-park/ > along Amboy Road is set for the Greenway Phase. The “Missing Link” on the French Broad River, named in honor of RiverLink’s founding Executive Director, is a 5.33-acre tract of land in the French Broad River Park corridor that’s gone through an impressive transformation from former junkyard to reclaimed, open greenspace. The parcel was acquired under Cragnolin’s leadership.
Dawn Chávez, executive director of the nonprofit GreenWorks, said she feels “incredibly lucky” to have known Cragnolin when she headed up RiverLink. “The incredible transformation of Asheville’s riverfront has much to do with the leadership and vision of Karen Cragnolin,” Chávez said. “She was a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with, fighting passionately for a clean, accessible, vibrant French Broad River.”