Karen Cragnolin Park completes soil remediation, eyes next phase


Many have wondered about what’s happening behind the scenes of this fence. | Photo via RiverLink

It’s been almost four years since our last dispatchbut we finally have an update on the Karen Cragnolin Park in West Asheville.

As of this month, the soil remediation that transformed the former junkyard’s five acres of gravelly moonscapeinto healthy soil is complete. Now, developer + nonprofit RiverLink is looking ahead to the next phase of the project: a $1 million capital campaign and the construction of a greenway + landscaped corridor.

No idea what we’re talking about? Here’s a primer:

The park is named after the late Karen Cragnolin, who pioneered the concept + several other major conservation initiatives. It aims to be “the missing link” between French Broad River Park + Carrier Park on Amboy Rd., connecting the 17 mile Wilma Dykeman Greenway. The site was acquired by RiverLink in 2006 and formerly served as a car junkyard for 50+ years. At the time of purchase, 100,000 tons of concrete covered the area.

When completed, the park will be a “living laboratory” which honors the land’s natural and cultural history, manages stormwater, and promotes a wide range of habitats. See the master plan, which includes an outdoor pavilion, pollinator garden, and plenty of river access.

About that corridor…

The path includes a paved greenway surrounded by an “aesthetic corridor” of “carefully selected plantings and design elements.” There will also be signage that highlights important educational, cultural, and historical details of the land.

The one caveat…

Construction on this project can’t begin until RiverLink raises the $1 million. While some money will certainly come through institutional and grant funding, the organization is also asking for help from individual donors. Support the project or contact RiverLink Executive Director Lisa Raleigh to get more involved.

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