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City of Asheville, Land of Sky, feds mark 4th anniversary of Sustainable Communities partnership

ATLANTA – On Thursday, the City of Asheville, Land-of-Sky Regional Council and federal partners observed the fourth anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities—an initiative to focus resources from multiple federal agencies to help meet economic, environmental and community needs.

Since the program began, more than $12.43 million has been awarded and leveraged to support projects promoting sustainability in Asheville and the surrounding region.

“By working with our federal partners these last four years, the city of Asheville has been able to speed up our progress in meeting community goals like the revitalization of Brownfields, accessibility of job training, and improvements to multimodal transportation connections,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. “We are pleased to show our partners how we’ve leveraged federal investments with additional public and private funding and look forward to the positive impacts the investments will have on our city’s future.”

Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) participated in a tour and community roundtable to commemorate the anniversary. Regional roundtable events will be held nationwide through September to engage stakeholders and receive feedback on how sustainable communities efforts are progressing.

The tour included stops at the sites of several federally-funded projects, including many in the East of Riverway area which has been the focus of the City’s $850,000 Tiger II Planning Grant from DOT. There are a number of major initiatives under the grant, including the (1) the Riverfront Development Planning Project and the Wilma Dykeman Riverway multi-modal transportation route along Riverside Drive; (2) two neighborhood greenways; (3) a transportation network plan that outlines infrastructure needs and public transit improvements; and (4) a community energy plan.

EPA provided more than $1 million to the City and Land-of-Sky, a local government planning and development organization, to assess and clean up nine Brownfields sites in the East of Riverway area. A number of these sites are being redeveloped, including the location of the New Belgium Brewery now under construction, the Glen Rock Building and others. Economic incentives and permit fee reductions are offered for development projects within city limits that will achieve Energy Star and LEED certification, create affordable and workforce housing, offers mixed-use or maximizes access to public transit. EPA also provided $499,000 to support a Climate Showcase Community Project in Asheville.
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