Bond spending projects get first presentation in February

On February 7th, staff presented Asheville City Council with plans for a host of bond-funded projects and there’s a lot in there for anyone who lives or works in Asheville to be excited about.

Improving on perfection

Most if not all of our state’s college and universities will be able to start or complete major projects, repairs, or refurbishments. Parks improvements benefit residents, visitors, and local businesses either directly or indirectly. As Asheville seeks to lure in larger companies to drive wages and the local/regional economy, these improvements will be necessary to proving Asheville has what companies and workers want. Employers already established in Asheville and the state are expected to add jobs both in the midst of completing bond projects and after.

Affordable housing

For those of us currently making Asheville our home, the potential development of more affordable housing is of particular relevance. It’s unclear what type of housing will be built. One of the companies involved constructs single family homes as well as apartment buildings. Regardless, this is great news for the artists, service workers, and others who have long lamented the unintended side effects of Asheville’s remarkable economic growth.

A careful foundation

It’s also worth noting that even though supporters of the bill are looking forward to favorite projects taking off, the County and City are taking their time to make sure the plan addresses the stated need. A-B Tech representatives will have to take another crack at presenting a proposal that meets the Buncombe County Commissioner’s concerns about low minority enrollment rates at the college. The current owners of one property under consideration for the affordable housing project agreed to give the City eight years to decide whether or not to make the purchase.

Tracking progress

But we won’t have to wait eight years to see progress. The next few City Council meetings this spring will focus on the budget, where bond projects will again come under discussion or review. Spending on projects is slated to begin in 2018, when the bond money sees its first disbursement. Hopefully the City will continue to update their super-cool interactive map showing the locations of all proposed bond spending to indicate what gets the final green light.


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