Minutes: July 25, 2011

22 in attendance

MEMBERSHIP 

Matt Sprouse–please pay dues, $100/year

Mail to: Matt Sprouse c/o SiteWorks Studios,

342 Depot Street, Asheville NC 28801

PARKING ON DEPOT STREET

Marsha Stickford, City of Asheville, Depot Street parking

Neighborhood Coordinator, City of Asheville: liaison between business and residential in AVL; in City Manager’s Office

Parking on Depot conversations have been going on for a while

What’s been done: City recognizes that River Arts District is a very important part of the city and that needs are changing a lot; trying to address needs in a way that can support growth

Stephanie Monson, City Office of Economic Development

Between the Bridges Project: Discussion about parking on Depot St.; crews of done surveying and measuring

Alternatives offered by business owners: crosswalks, added parking, safer for pedestrians

Will likely sacrifice bike lane to pub parking on Depot Street

Will offer input from Building Bridges; Transportation Dept. will put on a base map and then will cost it out and then bring it back to invested groups in RAD.  Then, need to find the funding to implement the plan.

If we can identify funding, we will get in the construction cue ahead of other projects.

Matt Sprouse: we would like to see the design before it’s approved.

Marsha Stickford: decisions that will need to be made (where do crosswalks go; where do cuts for driveways go)

We will create a meeting to review the maps and design once it’s available.

Brian McCartney: is there consideration about putting parking close to the railroad tracks?

Marsha Stickford: yes; parking would be between the existing curb and the railroad track

Traffic studies will give them clarity around peak traffic hours, et.

Brian McCartney: so the city is talking with the railroad?

Stephanie Monson: yes, the city is talking with the railroad and they know that lot is going to be used for parking?

Chall Gray: timeline?

Marsha Stickford: all information gathering is done and there is a baseline map of utilities, etc.  We understand that this is a complicated parking process.  The answer is no.

They will stay in touch.  Feel free to email Marsha Stickford or Stephanie Monson for more information.

Stephanie Monson: for communication purposes, is there a regular meeting date yet.  We are meeting every other month, the 4th Monday at 4 p.m.  Next meeting is is September.  Send email to RADBusinessAssociation@gmail.com to get on the agenda.

Pattiy Torno: is it worth it to have APD resource officers to come to a meeting?

Marsha Stickford  will arrange for that.

Matt Sprouse: the other benefit to adding parking is to decrease speeding traffic; as we’re adding parking, we see it slow down, but as it opens back up speeding increases

CLINGMAN STREETSCAPE MAINTENANCE: The Battle with Kudzu

-all the way down to the round about

Once it was installed, it was great, but overtime, the weeds grew in.  Matt Sprouse found out that there is no money for maintenance.  It’s a landscape that is more complicated for trees and grass to maintain.  It’s a dangerous landscape and we need to have a professional do this.

Susan Roderick from Asheville GreenWorks arranged a group that she has to take a stab at this.  There’s still money coming in, but there’s enough to pay the $800 for this.  They’ve done about $2000 worth of work for $800.

Will take monthly maintenance to keep it going.  We don’t see any chance in the city maintaining it.  Open for discussion for the group.  We are poised to do this as a group.

For example:

-each business adopts the area for a month to have the clean up done (pay someone to do it, $275/month to maintain)

Cindy Weeks: are there other parts deleted like this?

Marsha Stickford: there was never maintenance set up.  We have committed to park maintenance having ball park crew to mow grass when they are trimming ball fields.  DOT will start to deal with kudzu (not sure of the exact meaning of that).  Would like to get more commitment from them.

Susan Roderick: the plantings are beautiful and worth maintaining.  The trees will be bigger and we’ll have shade, so we won’t have as many weeds as we do right now.  If we get it down and maintain it, it will be more manageable.  It would be great to have a fund to replace things that die, like up to the SilverDollar.  Mulching it next week–needs to be remulched.

Pattiy Torno: need a fund to keep around $3,000/year to maintain the street scape.  Can businesses pony up a little cash for this?  Tax write off for businesses.

Susan Roderick: if we do this, we can maybe find a grant or sponsor to help with this.

Jonas Gerard: how much per business to make it work.

Pattiy Torno: If everyone can send $100 to Asheville GreenWorks to the fund.

Matt Sprouse: it will get better as it gets more established.  Right now, we need to get this fund in place, this is their first impression.

Three sponsors came forward during the meeting.

Marsha Stickford: City is working on getting permission to put some signs in; City is trying to get more organized around traffic street scapes, many got put in without thought to maintenance; City really appreciates the help on this and will do whatever they can to support this

Susan Roderick: someone that lives near it, usually they take care of it; but in this case there aren’t any individuals to do this

Small fundraiser for this: Talk with Susan Roderick

STUDIO STROLL

Pattiy Torno: Tim Schaller heard a rumor that RDA was cancelling the Nov. Studio Stroll; this is not true

RADA: new name of RDA is going to do a Studio Stroll meeting on August 9 at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts at 5:30 p.m.  Any RADA member that has an opinion about this, should go to the meeting; is it time to rethink the Stroll?

RADA Meeting, General Meeting is the next week

One idea is to spread it out May-Nov, 2nd Saturdays rather than 2 times/year

NEW BUSINESS
Pattiy Torno: new billboard, if anyone wants to participate in the new billboard, $250 each for a 3 month period, good exposure, let Pattiy know if you’re interested

Chall Gray: maybe for the agenda for the next meeting; Signage within the district, people are having a hard time finding Depot Street; Pink Dog had signage up at the 5 way–are we allowed to do that?  Is there an official way to do signage?

Matt Sprouse: there is a sign package

Pattiy Torno: there is a way finding group within the Chamber; petition them for signage that’s needed; recommend that this group write a letter saying that we want a kiosk with a map at the district, keeping with the way finding; any sign in the right of way is illegal.  Would be happy to do some research.  Not sure if they have funding, but they are always going to replace signs and would be worth getting in touch with them.

Susan Roderick: quick suggestion, on city street signs, like beside the Grey Eagle, one that said “To Depot Street”; they can’t see the side street signs at night

Matt Sprouse: one is getting people here in cars; one is getting pedestrian traffic down here; A kiosk is a great idea

Jonas Gerard: continuing signs throughout the RAD; we have to take people to the corner and point people in the right direction

Matt Sprouse: monument signs will not direct anyone once they’re here; would be a helpful discussion to have with TDA

Pattiy Torno: would be easy to ask for 3-sided kiosk because that’s part of the plan already; it will be more difficult or impossible to get vehicle signage

Even under Clingman Ave. “To Depot Street”

Cindy Weeks: why don’t we write a letter immediately and ask for a kiosk; Is there someway that one that 3-way sign that we would have our logos and everyone could hang a logo out and look for the visual.

Pattiy Torno: that was included, but they never got traction.

Brian McCartney: this is how Constance Williams ended up in this neighborhood, by meeting her personally and inviting her in.

Hedy Fisher: more is likely to get accomplished now that we’re an association.

Brian McCartney: there is space for a ceramic mural and that will be installed in September (Cathy Tripplett and Alex Irvine are doing it)

Wendy Whitson: serving on a Chamber committee; spearheading intra-city tour on Sept 15 and 16; they are renting a couple of buses (Grey Line and LaZoom); overall theme is unsung heros: want to focus on the River Arts District; there will be speakers, restaurants; invitation list is City Council, Board of Directors at the Chamber and Advantage West (80 people)

Trying to get restaurants on board to help out with lunch in the RAD; be nice to have the greenway

Working on the agenda now

Susan Roderick: do you invite every business or property owner to this meeting?

Pattiy Torno: we don’t have an email for Sprint, next door to Asheville GreenWorks

Is Zack Noble on the list?  Bought the metal building.

Offer for Strategic Planning: Small Business Technology Development Center; Anise Brown, Workshop with everyone around Strategic Planning

NEXT MEETING: September 26 at 4 p.m. at The Magnetic Field

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