Storms Reback, Renate Rikkers, Elizabeth Matthews, Linda Fornoff, Bruce Black, Lisa Hadley, Chris Pelly, and Doug Baughman
Storms provided an update about the project that involves replacing the sign at the entrance to the neighborhood and landscaping around it. The City of Asheville approved the permit on May 30, which means we can now proceed to buy a new sign and install it. Storms acknowledged that in the ideal scenario the board would present the neighborhood with several options and have people vote of them, but then he described how difficult that process would actually be. In an effort to get another design idea he reached out to Larry Colman, who built the current sign. Larry said he’d retired and referred Storms to Moss Signs, which said they didn’t make neighborhood signs, and to Mike McCue. After much back and forth, Mike said he could make the same sign the committee unanimously agreed on in the previous evening for $2,250, which is $550 more than Bassett Signs quoted. Given the difficulty of finding an option everyone likes that’s cheaper than Bassett Signs’ design, Storms called for a vote asking to take Bassett Signs’s design before the board July 16 and have them vote on purchasing it or not. Everyone in attendance voted yes. He will provide a cost breakdown of Phase One of this project (installing the new sign and the structure to hang it from). Storms is also going to follow up with Peter Tennant, the owner of Bee Tree Hardwoods, to see if he has any 6x6 locust posts.
Chris provided an update of the Arco Road Greenway project that he and Shelly McKechnie have been working on. Jake McLean from Wildlands Engineering has created a preliminary feasibility study and an estimated cost for the project (roughly $50,000). The plan is for Jake to make another site visit in the coming weeks.
Doug discussed a volunteer opportunity that would help RiverLink. More volunteers were needed to sell wristbands at Downtown After 5 on June 16. All proceeds would be going to RiverLink.
Renate pointed out the many places in Haw Creek, particularly on New Haw Creek Road, Beverly, and Cisco, where vegetation was encroaching on roadways and creating a safety hazard. She had discovered that in many places it’s actually the homeowners’ responsibility to clear this vegetation, so the question is, how to inform them of this and encourage them to do it? For places where it’s the City’s responsibility or that of the Department of Transportation, she suggested that people take note of trouble spots and email photos of them to her, so that she can compile a list, which she will pass along to the right entities once a month.
Storms will be scheduling the next committee meeting, ideally on a Tuesday so that Marti can attend, soon and will email everyone the time and location.
In attendance: Storms Reback, Renate Rikkers, Elizabeth Matthews, Linda Fornoff, Michelle Decker, Lisa Hadley, Chris Pelly, Marti Terry-Purdy, Doug Baughman
After a brief welcome, Storms provided a quick Earth Day recap. Nine volunteers spent three hours clearing vines and brush from Haw Creek Park.
Storms then showed a PowerPoint presentation that provided an overview of the project to replace the sign at the entrance to the neighborhood and install new landscaping around it. Phase 1 would focus on the hardscape portion of the project (erecting a new sign and building a retaining wall in front of it) and Phase 2 would focus on filling the “raised bed” created by the retaining wall, filling it with good-quality dirt, and installing new plants and shrubs. One obstacle was mentioned by a committee member who thought the City would never allow a new sign to be erected. The committee narrowed the selection of new signs to two (both designed by Bassett Signs) and agreed to send the proposal to the board for approval.
Chris provided an update on the Arco Rd Greenway project. Connect Buncombe declined to endorse the project, so Chris organized a meeting with Jack Igelman, who spearheaded the Hominy Creek Greenway. Jack shared the Memorandum of Understanding he has with the City with Chris and suggested we create one of our own and do the same.
Storms discussed the idea of making Haw Creek Park clean-ups a regular thing and recapped his discussion with John Shaw, Parks and Rec’s program operations manager, who agreed that the park was underutilized and needed the underbrush removed to create better sight lines and make the park feel less dark and creepy. Storms said he’d email John to see if the City would mow and weed whack in the spots cleared by Haw Creek volunteers.
Renate shared the good news that the City has agreed to create a neighborhood compost site at the East Asheville Library.
Doug provided a recap of recent RiverLink activities, including the removal of 35 shopping carts from the Swannanoa River.
Storms suggested creating a Treasured Tree List for Haw Creek that would encourage residents to participate in the city-wide initiative and promoting it within Haw Creek with a Treasured Tree tour and/or dedicated page on the HCCA website.
The next meeting date is TBD, pending the availability of the Haw Creek Commons.
Present: Storms Reback (chair), Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers, Michelle Decker, Linda Fornoff, Chris Pelly
Discussion of litter cleanup days. Marti remains the point person on this project. We just need to reach out to her if we ever need to borrow supplies. Renate reported on the new City of Asheville Cleanliness Pilot Program for roadside litter cleanup, a 2-year pilot project. Residents can report litter problem areas using the City's app.
Storms and Marti to discuss scheduling volunteer cleanup events. Storms will be reaching out to Lindsay Spratt to organize a kid-friendly cleanup.
Storms discussed ideas for Earth Day (April 22nd). These include kudzu and English ivy removal from Haw Creek Park. Another idea is to plant a tree at Haw Creek Commons. Storms has received permission to do so and is in the process of looking for a free tree. The final idea is to plant some colorful native plants the at the Haw Creek entrance where ivy was recently removed. A subcommittee that includes Michelle, Laurie, and Jack are looking into acquiring plants for this project. It was also suggested that we solicit from community cuttings and other perennial transplants for use at entrance. Remainder could be sold at the May 6th yard sale.
Another subcommittee consisting of Storms, Renate, and Doug are meeting to discuss whether to repair or replace the “Welcome to Haw Creek” sign at the main entrance. Chris to provide Storms contact info for Larry Coleman, Haw Creek resident who installed the existing sign in 2000. Michelle offered that the Trappers Run and Applewood subdivision entrance signs were good examples of attractive signs.
Chris reported on the April 19th presentation by Connect Buncombe to ask for their endorsement of the Arco Rd Neighborhood Connector greenway. Program presentation is at noon at the East Asheville library.
Marti reported on a natural weed killer solution for use on sidewalks overgrown with weeds. Combine one gallon of a concentrated vinegar solution, such as Harris 30% pure white vinegar, one cup of salt, and a couple tablespoons of dish detergent, such as Dawn.
Renate suggested a tree identification program idea “Know Your Trees” for new residents not familiar with our local trees. She also suggested publicizing the county's Treasured Trees program to encourage Haw Creek residents to submit their nominations.
The next C&G Committee meeting is scheduled for 7-8 pm Tuesday May 2nd in the History Room upstairs at Haw Creek Commons.
Chris Pelly, Christina Maggi (Chair), Doug Baughman, Linda Fornoff
Unable to attend
Anthony Dorage, Jack Murphy, Kim Murray, Laurie Miller, Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers, Scott Clodfelter, Shannon Simpson, Sorrel June
Chris and Linda reported on the success of the Oct 8 Invasive Plants Workshop at Haw Creek Park with 30+ volunteers clearing about one third of the kuduz; we discussed options to complete the kuduz removal but due to the need for special tools and herbicides recommend that Renate work with Jim, chair of the Haw Creek Park Improvement Committee, to determine an action plan
Renate is following up on all the details for the Oct 20 environmental program, which has been posted to our website and on social media; Doug will try to get the event some additional publicity with AVLtoday and Mountain Xpress; Christina is organizing a few refreshments with help from Leslie, Susan and Linda
Chris reported that the primary executor for the 26-acre Burnett property has yet to be officially appointed, which precludes any discussion; Chris knows the Community Foundation’s attorney and will reach out to him to explore the Foundation’s interest in helping to preserve some of the property for Haw Creek community use
Chris is still waiting to hear from the city about repairing the chain link fence at the end of Old Haw Creek Road
Christina will draft a letter to the owner of the property at the Haw Creek entrance seeking permission to proceed with landscape clearing and planting, using the information provided by Laurie, Jack and Shannon; still need to develop a budget for purchasing plants
Doug will talk with a neighbor who does woodworking about the possibility of adapting the current welcome sign (remove the church listings and add some wooden artistic interest), which would avoid getting the city’s approval for a new sign and save us money
Chris reported that the block material has arrived and the work on the Masters Park parking lot will hopefully be finished by the end of October
Linda volunteered to find out whether the Adopt-A-Street program is still active; Chris will provide her with contacts at the NCDOT and the City of Asheville
Next meeting is Tuesday, November 29, 7:00 pm
Chris Pelly, Christina Maggi (Chair), Doug Baughman, Georgena Millar, Laurie Miller, Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers, Shannon Simpson
Unable to attend
Anthony Dorage, Jack Murphy, Kim Murray, Linda Fornoff, Scott Clodfelter, Sorrel June
Renate will confirm with Eric Bradford (Greenworks) the Invasive Plants Workshop on 10/8 10 am – 12 pm at Haw Creek Park and request/write up program details for posting on the website/social media; post will include request for volunteers to help with kudzu removal
Renate will confirm with Anna Alsobrook (MountainTrue) and with Renee Fortner (RiverLink) the Environmental Program 10/20 7 pm at Haw Creek Commons and request/write up program details for posting on the website/social media
Christina will work on a more enticing name for the Environmental Program using suggestions from the committee and the writeup from Renate
Chris reported on efforts to secure investors willing to purchase the 26 acre Burnett property and preserve the pasture piece along New Haw Creek Road for community use; he will continue reaching out to potential investors and/or developers
Marti reported that the site along the creek where homeless individuals left debris remains free of litter and that she has cleared three areas of overgrown vegetation around stop signs; she also used a homemade nontoxic formula to kill new weeds on the sidewalks previously cleared by the Green Team
Marti reported that the chain link fence at the west end of Old Haw Creek Road is broken, allowing people to walk from I-240, leaving a trail of litter, which she has collected (about two bags a month), including two shopping carts that she and Doug returned to the appropriate stores; Marti will take photos of the area and Chris will submit them to the city with a request to have the fence repaired
Laurie (an architect by trade) will work with Shannon and Jack to draft a landscape plan for the Haw Creek entrance that we can submit to the property owner to get his permission to proceed with clearing and planting; Christina will provide an email introduction
Renate shared her concern about the unattractive appearance along New Haw Creek Road where Duke Energy has been spraying herbicide applications or where the city has neglected to mow; she and Chris will take a drive together to identify specific areas and recommend potential action steps, which might include setting up a meeting with DOT and/or issuing a call for a community-wide cleanup day
Doug will prepare an article based on the research Jack provided about recycling for publication in our newsletter and/or website
Chris reported that the contractor is still waiting on materials to be delivered before they can resume work on the Masters Park parking lot
Next meeting is Tuesday, October 11, 7:00 pm
Chris Pelly, Christina Maggi, Jack Murphy, Linda Fornoff, Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers
Unable to attend
Anthony Dorage, Doug Baughman, Georgena Millar, Kim Murray, Laurie Miller, Sorrel June
Renate will continue working to find a date for an educational program featuring reducing plastic pollution with MountainTrue and Adopt-A-Storm Drain in Haw Creek with RiverLink to be held at either the Library or Haw Creek Commons; as soon as we have a date we will promote the program to ensure strong community attendance
Renate will follow up to find someone to help with kudzu removal [she has since arranged for Eric Bradford of Greenworks to lead a workshop on invasive plants on October 8 at Haw Creek Park]
Chris will continue working on potential options that would allow us to preserve the pasture piece along New Haw Creek Road of the 26 acre Burnett property
Marti reported that she cleaned up the site along the creek where homeless individuals left debris (10 bags plus a shopping cart); she will hang a “no trespassing” sign nearby
Marti led a team effort (totaling 13 hours) to clean up weeds growing through/along the sidewalks on New Haw Creek near the entrance at Crockett; she will use a homemade nontoxic formula to prevent future weeds from growing; Chris will make sure a mention of the work with before and after pictures gets posted on our website and on Nextdoor
Chris will draft a newsletter article about homeowners’ responsibility to maintain sidewalks, which will also serve as a one-page flyer to share with these particular homeowners
Chris will identify specific traffic signs with overgrowth and send a list to Marti and Linda who volunteered to trim the overgrown areas
Jack will reach out to Thorpe Landscapes of Asheville to see if they would be willing to create a landscape plan for the Haw Creek entrance on a pro bono basis; she will also ask Lydia at Bountiful Cities for recommendations; we need a plan to submit to the property owner in order to get his permission to proceed
Christina asked for photos of attractive signs that could be used as models for a new Welcome to Haw Creek sign; the Trappers Run sign was mentioned as a possibility
Jack will draft an article about recycling for publication in our newsletter and/or website (What can I put in my blue bin?) including links to sites with more detailed information
Chris will ask Bernie Arghiere to update the neighbors in the vicinity of Masters Park about the status of the parking lot, which has been delayed for a variety of reasons
Next meeting will be Tuesday, September 7, 7:00 pm
Chris Pelly, Christina Maggi, Doug Baughman, Georgena Millar, Linda Fornoff, Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers
Unable to attend
Anthony Dorage, Jack Murphy, Kim Murray, Laurie Miller, Sorrel June
Marti will check the two sites where homeless individuals left debris to see if anything is still there and if so she will clean it up herself or recruit someone to help her
Marti will organize a few people to clean up the weeds that are growing through/along the sidewalks on New Haw Creek near the entrance at Crockett
Chris will take before and after pictures of the sidewalks to be cleaned and draft a newsletter article about homeowners’ responsibility to maintain sidewalks, which will also serve as a one-page flyer to share with these particular homeowners
Chris will identify specific traffic signs with overgrowth and determine if committee members can trim/clean them up or if we need to submit a request to the city
Doug will work with Kim and Renee Fortner at RiverLink to select a date in September for an educational program to be held at Creekside Taphouse; Renee will provide all materials for a presentation on a new Adopt-A-Storm Drain program in Haw Creek; HCCA will promote the program to ensure strong community attendance
Doug, Renate and Christina will meet with Betsy Burdett of the Saluda Community Land Trust on Wednesday July 6 with the goal of learning how the Trust initially launched their program
Committee members agreed to use the following criteria for open space parcels to pursue with the understanding that there may be exceptions (e.g. Masters Park): “Undeveloped land that’s easily accessible (along or near New or Old Haw Creek Roads) with flat or sloping pasture that can be repurposed for parks/public use without having to make significant changes”
Renate will work with Anna Alsobrook at MountainTrue to select a Tuesday or Thursday date after October 7 for an educational program to be held at East Asheville Public Library; Anna has a detailed presentation on reducing plastic pollution in WNC and will address the single-use plastic-reduction ordinance in Asheville; HCCA will promote the program to ensure strong community attendance
Renate will follow up with Nancy Lawson at Curbside Management to let her know that we will not be doing a private tour of the recycling facility but instead will work on publicizing recycling information in our newsletter and/or website, possibly including a link to their five minute video tour of the facility Curbie.
Georgina will reach out to her contact at Warren Wilson College to see if there are any students who might be interested in working on the entrance landscaping as a school project
Doug indicated that a rain garden demonstration project needs participation from many homes to have a successful impact and suggested that RiverLink provide information on this at the September Adopt-A-Storm Drain program
Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2, 7:00 pm
Anthony Dorage, Christina Maggi, Doug Baughman, Georgena Millar, Jack Murphy, Laurie Miller, Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers, Sorrel June
Unable to attend
Chris Pelly, Kim Murray, Linda Fornoff
Doug serves on the board of RiverLink and asked Renee Fortner, Watershed Resources Manager at RiverLink, to attend our meeting. She gave an informative presentation on RiverLink’s work, which is focused on three main areas: environmental education, land conservation and water quality. She talked about their Adopt-A-Storm Drain program where residents voluntarily check and clean “assigned” drains twice a month. RiverLink partners with the City of Asheville, which maintains a map that is used to identify storm drains in particular neighborhoods. Doug told Renee that we were interested in launching this program here so she contacted the City and requested that they add Haw Creek to the map, which they agreed to do. RiverLink has the map available on their website and once Haw Creek has been added (in about six weeks) we can ask residents to join this project through RiverLink. See https://riverlink.org/work/adopt-a-storm-drain/ for more info. Doug will let us know when the map is ready; Renate will work with Meghan/others to come up with a plan to get the word out to the community (we can discuss specifics at the Communications & Development meeting 6/29).
Related to storm drain adoption, Renate raised the issue of keeping roadside gutters (drainage swales) and sidewalks clear of vegetation, silt accumulation and litter to ensure safe pedestrian passage and prevent silt, grass clippings, and other pollutants from entering Haw Creek, which feeds into the French Broad Watershed. According to City ordinances, property owners whose land abuts a paved sidewalk carry responsibility for the maintenance of both that sidewalk section and drainage swale all year round. However, the ordinance is not enforced and, consequently, we see overgrown sidewalks, drainage swales filled with silt and weeds and a very unkempt look in many areas of Haw Creek. To further confuse matters, all sidewalks within City limits are the responsibility of Asheville’s Streets Division while the storm drains are DOT-maintained since New Haw Creek Road is a State Road. Renate has requested a meeting with Chad Bandy, Streets Division Supervisor, to discuss how we can work cooperatively to better educate the community on these important environmental issues.
Renate brought up the issue of securing help from RiverLink to clean up the banks of Haw Creek. A few days later she and Doug took a closer look at the current situation and found that the creek banks are totally overgrown with invasive vegetation, especially poison ivy and wild roses, which means this project will have to wait until late fall. They also found two sites close to the water where homeless individuals had camped and left behind a pile of debris, which they think can be safely cleaned up without outside help. We will need to recruit a few hardy folks for this job and try to get it done soon because if/when there is another flood all these items will end up in the creek.
Renee mentioned that RiverLink might be interested in a pilot or demonstration rain garden project and several members volunteered. Further discussion is needed to clarify parameters and determine next steps.
Marti reported that the June 5 litter pickup was canceled because the grass is too high and there is a lot of poison ivy. She was at the meeting place as scheduled but no one showed up. She had already scouted the neighborhood for litter and cleaned those areas by herself—collecting 4 large bags. Future litter pickups will be scheduled as needed, probably four times a year, and she will use the list Renate has complied to request help.
Anthony reported on his attendance at the Saluda Community Land Trust’s annual meeting on May 18. He met Betsy Burdett, one of four key volunteers responsible for the Trust’s success, which has been achieved primarily through networking and tenacity. They have preserved 357 acres to date and expect to have 900 acres secured by the end of this year. Renate will arrange a meeting with Betsy and a few of our committee members so we can hear about the lessons they learned when they launched their initiative.
Chris previously shared the following list of large undeveloped tracts left in Haw Creek, however, we don't know if the owners would be open to selling for preservation purposes:
Committee members should contact Chris with any additional properties that could be added to this list. Betsy indicated that even small properties are worth pursuing.
Renate will work with Chris to arrange for Anna Alsobrook, Watershed Outreach Coordinator at MountainTrue, to speak at our July 20 board meeting about their efforts to reduce plastic pollution in WNC, with a focus on the proposed ordinance to regulate single-use plastics in Asheville. Doug knows Ken Brame, Political Chair of the WNC Sierra Club Group, who helped the City draft the ordinance. If we would like another speaker on this issue Doug can reach out to Ken. After hearing from Anna (and potentially Ken), the board can then consider whether to endorse the proposed regulation or take other action.
Renate has spoken with Nancy Lawson, Co-Owner of Curbside Management, and arranged for a private tour of the recycling facility. Renate and Georgena previously took this tour and strongly recommend that all board members participate in this eye-opening experience, which could serve as the basis for an article to help educate our community on the importance of proper recycling.
Christina, Jack, Linda and Renate met at the main entrance to Haw Creek (Crockett Avenue) to discuss landscaping and signage. Jack thought she would be able to identify the owner of the property but no one returned her calls. Others, especially Renate, have also tried many times in the past without success. Without permission from the property owner we can not proceed to landscape this area and since we’re unable to locate the owner after many attempts this matter is unfortunately at an end. Christina is compiling photos of neighborhood signs that can provide inspiration for us as replacing the current “Welcome to Haw Creek” sign is still an open issue.
Renate followed up on her request to the city’s sanitation department to place a composting shed in Haw Creek and was told that they have selected Oakley instead.
Next meeting will be Tuesday, July 5, 7:00 pm
Anthony Dorage, Chris Pelly, Christina Maggi, Doug Baughman, Georgena Millar, Jack Murphy, Kim Murray, Linda Fornoff, Marti Terry-Purdy, Renate Rikkers, Sorrel June
Christina and Renate agreed to co-chair the committee, which will meet the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm, tentatively at Creekside Taphouse
Marti will coordinate the Green Team (litter cleanup)
Doug will follow up with his Asheville city contacts who work on stormwater to inquire about the maintenance of storm drains in Haw Creek
Renate will coordinate a sub-committee to focus on open spaces, which will include Anthony, Christina, Kim and Sorrel
Renate will coordinate a sub-committee to focus on beautification initiatives, which will include Christina, Jack and Linda
Georgena and Renate will maintain communication with Asheville Public Works Department and DOT
Doug will email committee members background information about current plastic reduction efforts in Asheville; Renate will email links for action by individuals; Chris will add this item to the agenda for the board to discuss and potentially endorse
Renate will follow up on her request to the city’s sanitation department to place a composting shed in Haw Creek