Earlier this week, the City of Ashevilleannounced the launch of parklets + shared streets to create more temporary space for businesses so they can serve more customers while adhering to public health guidelines during the pandemic. They’re already appearing around town, and more are scheduled to pop up over the next month. The City has approved them through Oct. 31.
What exactly is a parklet? Parklets — or sidewalk extensions — allow businesses like restaurants to use one to three on-street adjacent public parking spaces for business.
The City will allow businesses to use up to three parking spots adjacent to their property to create a parklet to create space for outdoor dining, merchandise, or safe physical distance for customers + employees.
Before creating a parklet, businesses are required to get approval from the City by submitting a concept plan that includes the layout and materials that will be used. The parklet must adhere to Temporary Outdoor Expansion Guidelines, which include info on insurance requirements, proof of occupancy + letters of support from landlords and neighboring businesses.
Note: Parklets may only be created on streets where the speed limit is 25 mph or less, and ADA parking spaces may not be used.
Businesses may also expand into privately-owned parking lots + landscaped areas – but must register to do so. They can also register to expand onto public sidewalks, if six feet of distance between people can be maintained.
And a shared street? Shared streets allow outdoor use by converting whole blocks to pedestrian priority areas. That means vehicles are allowed, but traffic will be reduced or slowed by redirecting or narrowing space for driving. Emergency vehicle access, ADA parking, and loading zones will still be available.
The first shared streets were launched on The Block last Friday (Juneteenth) and will be installed this week in the South Slope on Banks and Buxton Ave., and on Wall St., Church St. + portions of College St. in the next three weeks.
What else do I need to know? The City has been working hard to accommodate businesses, organizations, and individuals while also keeping folks safe. Last month, officials launched parking for curbside pickup in the commercial district. Earlier this month, they also expanded pedestrian-only areas to keep protestors safe while demonstrating downtown.
They’ll be releasing a survey at a later date to get community feedback on how parklets + shared streets are working.
Will parklets + shared streets motivate you to visit businesses downtown more frequently?
○ NC’s Department of Health and Human Services reported atotal of 57,183 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina as of Thursday afternoon. 519 cases and 36 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. Check stats for other counties, total tests, and more in NChere.
○ Buncombe County commissioners have lifted the occupancy cap on hotels, as well as a requirement that hotels wait 24 hours before cleaning + disinfecting rooms. Commissioners noted that visitors’ concerns about the pandemic will create self-regulation, and that many visitors have been coming in for day trips. Allowing hotels to be at full capacity will be in alignment with the state’s Phase 2 guidelines. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ Health officials in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are imposing a two-week quarantine on visitors from states with high coronavirus rates. The advisory applies to Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Texas, and the Carolinas. According to the governors of the tri-state region, they’re focusing on these states because over the last week, these states have had an average of 10+ positive tests per 100,000 residents or because an average of more than 10% of all tests have been positive. (CNBC)
○ A judge ruled Wednesday to shut downAce Speedway in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. The racetrack has been in the news in recent weeks for defying restrictions on large crowds + not enforcing social distancing. The speedway will seek an appeal. (WLOS)
○ Health officials have identified a COVID-19 outbreak in staff at a Macon County nursing home. Two staff members at Macon Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are asymptomatic + self-isolating, and will be allowed to return to work after two negative tests taken 24 hours apart. No patients have tested positive. (WLOS)
Click the button below for local resources regarding the coronavirus.
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Asheville’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
Food Connection is currently connecting with area chefs to get them back into the kitchen + serve meals to the people who need them most, and they’re doing it all with community donations. Want to support? You can make a donation here. 🥘
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Civic ○ City Council reminded people that carrying weapons at demonstrations is illegal after armed counter protesters showed up downtown earlier this week. Council members also criticized the Asheville Police Department for not taking any action against the counter protestors. Council is working to ban the use of tear gas at protests. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Health ○ Buncombe County Government + WNC Community Health Services are offering community-based COVID-19 testing over the next 10 weeks. Early testing hours for staff of long term + congregate care facilities will be offered at the Swannanoa Ingles (2299 US-70) on Tues. and the Buncombe County Sports Park (58 Apac Dr.) on Thurs. from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Testing is available to both the insured + uninsured, with no out of pocket cost. The full list of testing sites can be found here. 😷 ○ To help clean up used needles on the sidewalk, Asheville + Buncombe County will install six metal needle drop boxes. The boxes will go where large amounts of needles are found, including outside Pack Library downtown.The program received donations from Dogwood Health Trust and installation begins in a few weeks. 💉 (WLOS)
State ○ Three members of the Wilmington Police Department have been fired after making racist statements on a video audited by the department. They were accused of violating standards of conduct, criticism,and use of inappropriate jokes + slurs. Cases the officers were involved with will be reviewed to determine whether they showed bias or committed any crimes. (WLOS)
Stat ○ 57.9%. The percentage of households in NC that have responded to the census as of June 22. The nationwide average is 61.6%, making NC’s rank for census reporting 34 out of 50. In 28 NC counties, response rates are greater than 60%. 🏘 (NC Demography)
Vote ○ Asheville is in the running for the Coolest Up-and-Coming City in Hemispheres’ inaugural Readers’ Choice Awards. We’re facing off against Boise, ID, Columbia, SC, Louisville, KY + Indianapolis, IN. Voting closes July 1 and winners will be announced in the Sept. issue. 🏆 (Hemispheres)
Outdoors ○ The Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership is asking the public to support an increase in overall forest restoration. This comes after the US Forest Service released their land management plan draft, which will determine how the national forests and their resources will be managed for the next 20 years. The NPFP recommends an increase in recreation resources, conservation + sustainable timber management. The public input period ends on June 29. 🌲
Ranked ○ Ashevillewas namedthe fifth best place for residents + visitors according to a report by Resonance Consultancy. The company ranked 100 cities by analyzing US government + online data for metro areas with populations between 100,000-500,000, and then evaluated each city for metrics related to environment, diversity, prosperity + more. Other NC cities that made the list were Wilmington + Burlington. 🌄 (Charlotte Observer)
Arts ○ A Roberta Flack mural is coming to Black Mountain Ale House. The online crowdsourcing campaign met its goal of $15,000 in just eight days. This is a part of Scott Nurkin’s NC Musicians Mural Project. Flack was born in Black Mountain in 1937. 🎶 (The Valley Echo)
WaterCooler ○ Registration for the Asheville Triathlon (July 19) is open. There is also a Virtual & Self-Serve AVL Triathlon option which allows guests to choose when they complete the swim, run + bike events. The triathlon will take place July 19 in Hendersonville, and there’s a virtual event as well. 🏃♂️🚴♀
Dish ○ Asheville Brewing Company (77 Coxe Ave.) has reopened. They are offering socially distanced patio dining of parties of six or fewer with a limited menu. Hours are Mon.-Fri. 3-8 p.m. Asheville Pizza + Brewing Company (675 Merrimon Ave.) is also offering patio service during business hours. 🍺🍕
PlanAhead ○ Do you have a high school student wanting to develop real-world and professional skills that will set them apart from other college applications? Furman University is hosting a two-week High School Virtual Academy from July 13-24. Learn more about the program here and apply. Ⓟ
Correction ○ In yesterday’s newsletter, we mistakenly referred to the enormous Saharan desert dust plume as the Gorilla Dust Cloud, rather than the Godzilla Dust Cloud. 🦖
Naternal’s “Trust the Dose System” allows consumers the chance to personalize their CBD experience | Photo via Root Bioscience
Trying a new self-care product or treatment shouldn’t bankrupt you. NC-made Naternal is cutting through the often confusing – and expensive – world of CBD with a line of high-quality products at prices that make sense; starting at $15.
Every human (and pet) is different, so Naternal’s product line + dosing system allows each customer to fully personalize their CBD experience. They even created this quiz to help customers find the product that best suits their needs. Ⓟ
Happy Friday, Asheville. We hope you have some fun and relaxing plans for the weekend. Ali is going to spend time cooking and wading in the creek to cool off, and Brook is going to stress clean and look for more artistic + creative ways to keep her kid entertained.
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