After more than a decade of remediation, $1 million in fundraising, and thousands of volunteer hours, RiverLink is ready to debut phase one of Karen Cragnolin Park. From a once-contaminated junkyard to a thriving greenway, the park connects the French Broad River Greenway from French Broad River Park to Carrier Park on Amboy Rd.
What’s been completed?
The greenway is small but mighty, measuring 0.15 miles long by 14 feet wide. Its width stems from Karen’s long-time dedication to making green spaces accessible to people of varying mobility levels.
While enjoying outdoor recreational activities, visitors will be educated by signage throughout the greenway about RiverLink’s visionary founder and the park’s namesake, the late Karen Cragnolin. RiverLink’s Development Manager Susan Andrew says about Karen, “She really viewed the river as a community asset with great value, and her feeling about her vision for it has been validated more recently, with economic data showing the value of the French Broad River to Western North Carolina and about $3.8 billion annually.”
Plus, you can look to the signs to learn about the native plants, pollinator gardens, and the land’s former inhabitants that have helped the area reach its current state.
Time to celebrate
Join RiverLink in dedicating the final portion of the greenway this Friday, Aug. 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. Free snow cones, music, and family fun will abound, with speeches beginning at 5:15 p.m. and highlighting the transformation of the space and honoring Karen Cragnolin’s legacy. It’s recommended for folks to park at French Broad River Park or Carrier Park and take the greenway path to the event.
After exploring the greenway, head over to the Hi-Wire RAD Beer Garden and raise a glass with Connect Buncombe’s Brewing for Greenways, a multi-brewery effort to fundraise for local greenway and trail projects.