Asheville Applies for Grant for Asheville Rides Transit Center Project

ASHEVILLE – The city is requesting $ 850,000 from the federal government for an unusual project that would combine affordable housing and public transit in the city center.

Asheville staff are applying for the ‘Persistent Poverty Areas Grant’ they want to use for the Asheville Rides transit hub expansion, as well as a mixed-use development with affordable housing, commercial uses and other public institutional spaces.

The project is called “ART Place,” Asheville deputy director of transportation Jessica Morriss said on Aug. 10.

The transit center and the 0.9 acre parking lot directly to the south (also called “Talbert Lot”) are eligible for the grant, Morriss said, because it is in an area with a poverty rate of at least 20. % between 2014 and 2018. based on US Census data.

“If awarded, it will be used for planning, community engagement and some technical studies, such as surveys, utility assessments, determination / circulation of transit facility needs, determination of electrical recharging needs, etc. She said.

The Talbert field next to the Asheville Rides transit center.

Money can only be used for pre-construction activities and not for materials or construction.

The project comes as the Asheville region has experienced a 58% increase in rents since 2010. The growing number of residents, meanwhile, have incomes well below the national average.

Related:Welcome to Asheville: The highest cost of living in North Carolina, but with low wages

Local authorities continue to eliminate the problem, offer subsidies to lower rents in new developments and pay owners to convert apartments and houses into affordable units.

ART Place would be a new approach, combining affordable housing and transportation.

A big step has come with Asheville $ 2.5 million in purchase of the Talbert lot, approved May 25 by city council and providing a total of 1.5 acres for development.

The area, with one of the city’s highest minority populations, has historically been set aside by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation as it was not suitable for bank financing of housing. This process, called redlining, was banned because it was discriminatory.

Planners aren’t sure how many units ART Place could supply yet, but are looking for models in places like Los Angeles and Silver Springs, Maryland.

Examples of housing geared to public transport

The transit center was recently renovated with lobby upgrades, additional outdoor seating, improved lighting, new digital signage, public Wi-Fi, and 180 solar panels. But to meet what officials say is the need for additional bus service, expansion is needed.

Joel Burgess has lived at WNC for over 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He has written award-winning stories on topics ranging from gerrymandering to police use of force. Help us support this type of journalism with a subscription at the Citizen Times.

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