Black Mountain Greenways & Trails Committee
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021
Held at Lake Tomahawk Pavilion, Black Mountain at 6:00 pm
Mission: The Black Mountain Greenways and Trails Committee exists to promote greenways and trails in Black Mountain and surrounding areas.
Guest Speaker: Heather Cotton, AICP, City of Marion Planning and Development Director and Black Mountain resident.
She began with how she got connected to the love of trails. Two things of importance 1) she hiked the Mountains to Sea trail and helped develop the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.
Then she explained how the Catawba River Greenway trail got built through the town of Marion partnering with McDowell Trails Association. Some ideas of importance:
- The town could write grants and receive grants that the Association could not get.
- The town of Marion received $400,000 through grants
- Memberships and private donations raised $10,000. The town was happy to see citizen involvement.
- Relationships are important to local government
She gave some suggestions on how partner with local government:
- Be cheerleaders for trails
- Talk to others about the trails
- Keep excellent Newsletter going
- Use the Facebook page
- Find someone with Grant writing ability or other/inkind services
- Graphic design, engineering, photography
- Don’t always have to pay for a feasibility study, just use GIS
- Appraisal – use real estate agents to help – their estimates can be used as a match
- Legal fees (review legal documents, pro bono)
- Keep fundraising – people who want to donate $, nothing too small every dollar counts
- Keep data on trail usage
- counts of users
- know what users look like,
- what type of use is there
- use volunteers can do counts
- share data with local government… show growth.
Also, she gave suggestions on Funding Strategies –
- Recreational trails grant – parks division Dept 25%/75%
- Parks and Rec Trust grant – $600,000 – local match 50%/50% (local government) – there has been lobbying for non-profits to apply
- Governor has increased money available for grants for trails
- Take advantage for this moment in time
- Get something submitted to the state
- As a nonprofit there is sometimes more access to funding (like Blue Cross/Blue Shield)
- Think about other uses… such as trails through minority neighborhoods that are underserved
- Dogwood Trust – housing is one of their big items… have funded trails in cooperation with housing
- Be connected to development in the community (waterline, sewage line) 20 feet from center line – for public access easements over waterlines and sewage lines – comprehensive land use plan … add this easement on lands that we have designed potential plans… get policies in place on certain lands it puts developers on notice
- Use the for profit businesses… amazing local business that are based on local trails…businesses thrive off of trails…get them to sponsor. business success because of trails, every shoe that is sold could give $ to trails. Engage chamber of commerce. Eblast through chamber
- Prioritizing and implementing
- Think about user groups, location and exiting infastructure… Use the JEDI – justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion – provide trails for everyone!
In addition, she discussed tips for communicating with town planner/management
- Have dialog, build partnerships
- Use solution language… how we frame things is important…
- we’ve been met with challenges…
- what are other paths forward?
- What can we do to help?
- frame questions so that there is no opposition
- Get the community to come together
- Use funds to hire a part time planner that works with the town
- Build relationships
- Couch terms in economic development – Attract industry to our community
- Keep fighting
Outdoor Adventure Tourism there was no money for Marion
Question of Rivers trails from NPS – larger grants only – National foundation Grants
City of Marion has almost completed their section of the Fonta Flora State Trail – road diet project… $21 million for 1.5 miles.
Question – What are some funding that is easier to get than others… Federal DOT (not easy
- Dogwood trust
- National foundation – tie into regional grants… they are looking to promote themselves through your name.
- Stalk the board members on the foundations and write the grants toward their interests
- Sorba, East Coast Greenways
- Put together a spread sheet with what grant will do what, deadline,
- Converse with Amanda Edwards… in relation to depot to depot project
- what can we do…
- can we figure this out?
- Potentially go to the elected official;
- Go rouge.. paint feathers on the road. (JOKE!)
- Needs to be in the comprehensive land use plan.
- Try to incorporate it into all the plans…
- let it be known that this a priority.
- Squeaky wheel gets the grease…
- Do it in tactical and respectable way.
Upcoming Events were shared:
- September 14 @ 0830 – Volunteers needed for heavy digging/ weed removal on Village Way Greenway on Tuesday, we will be cleaning out dead thatch, planting grass seed. We are turning this into a butterfly garden. It has been a slow-moving project. We need willing volunteers or recommend some young people. If anyone knows of groups to recommend. There are some tools available. Contact: Annwnc@gmail.com
- September 25. Chalk the Walk event. It is both a contest to chalk the walk and walk the chalk. Done with center for the Arts. Any school groups and cash prizes. Trying to get people out to walk and see the art. Registration is at the BM center for the Arts website. Spread out through the town. Town square, … group/family categories. We need volunteers and participants. Annwnc@gmail.com
- April 2022 Greenway Challenge Run – 5 and 10 K…Lincoln Walters and Noah West approached us to bring community together… So, they are interested in helping with the challenge. On the Greenways, near the collective. Julie will hold a meeting… a committee event. Very exciting!
- Update Garden Greenway project. We have earmarked $20,000 for that project, but it is put on hold, since the town needs 3 contract bids before they can approve the project. There are not enough contractors willing to give estimates.
New Business, next meeting is on Tues, Oct 5, speaker will be Beth Hile – Fonte Flora State trail executive director
- Election of officers.
- Chair – Ann Lutz, nominated and approved
- Vice Chair was left open
- Secretary – Dottie Shuman, nominated and approved
- Treasurer – Julie White nominated and approved
- Volunteer coordinator Ideas still needed.
- December Parade, first Saturday in December… the committee will take up the torch of the Greenways commission. You are welcome to join, by marching, riding walking, or doing anything that can be done on a Greenway.
- October meeting, Tuesday, October 5 at 6 pm Lake Tomahawk pavilion. Speaker Beth Heile FFST.
- Ann suggested offering history walks to the public this winter.
- Doug Chamberlain built bluebird boxes at the garden. We may think about asking him to do some education about bluebirds.
Small discussion about the minutes. Dottie will send them to the executive committee for approval before they go out to the entire list.