Connect Enka, an advocacy group formed to assist in the implementation of the Hominy Creek Greenway Priority Corridor, is partnering with New Belgium Brewing and Fletcher Partners to host an event on Thursday August 20, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the New Belgium Brewing Distribution Center at 144 Jacob Holm Way to demonstrate how a trail system can benefit local businesses and drive economic development.
Buncombe County approved 102 miles of greenways in the Greenways and Trails Master Plan in September 2012. Connect Enka specifically incorporated to ensure that the Hominy Creek Corridor continues to be a priority trail. The Hominy Creek Corridor concept is one of eight priority corridors in the plan and will run from the Hominy Valley Park and Pool to Brevard Road (NC 191) near the intersection with Pond Road.
Connect Enka is particularly interested in understanding how the Greenville, S.C. Swamp Rabbit Trail enhanced business growth in its suburb, Traveler’s Rest, S.C. Traveler’s Rest has had a recent economic boom from the construction of the Swamp Rabbit Trail connecting the community to Greenville. Traveler’s Rest Mayor, Wayne McCall, plans to attend this event to share with Enka business owners how vacancies along his Main Street went from 40 to 4 since the Swamp Rabbit Trail was implemented in 2010. Businesses in the suburb have multiplied from 4 to 60 in the same time.
Enka residents have been demanding equality in education and other county services such as a bus stop with the Asheville Regional Transit. With the Urban Institute’s recent studies showing that Enka-Candler is among the lowest 10% of the county in socio-economic status, Candler native and community activist, Emily Sutton Dezio is hopeful that “this connector will prove to lure businesses seeking a high quality of life.” Dezio went on to say, “providing access to a grocery stores, schools, libraries, restaurants, medical care and retail without having to use a vehicle will surely improve our quality of life.”
A recent study by the National Association of Realtors found that the millennial generation overwhelmingly is seeking housing options that rely less on automobile transportation than previous generations. They are seeking housing locations where they can walk and bike to restaurants, businesses and places of employment.
Co-Founder, Garrett Artz, has worked tirelessly in Enka-Candler to create safe walking and biking routes to schools. “This trail has the ability to potentially connect 5 of the Enka District Schools. There is ample evidence to support that schools that children who are able to walk or bike to school have increased performance in their standardized testing.”
Finally, having access to a trail will save money on health costs. A recent Health Impact Assessment (HIA) conducted by Buncombe County found that for every dollar invested in the construction of the Master Plan, the County would save $3.
For more information, please contact parent organizer Garrett Artz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-785-2054. Follow Connect Enka on Facebook for further updates.