Richmond Hill Woods City Park

This blog is dedicated to preserving Asheville, NC's largest wooded green space, Richmond Hill Park, from becoming an athletic field complex and National Guard armory. If you want to Save this wooded park WRITE, CALL or email all City Council and Parks and Recreation TODAY. TEll them you oppose the ball fields in this unique, hilly and amazing wooded park. There are better places for ball fields than in the exceptional city park.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Do you want to save Richmond Hill Park, Asheville's Largest Wooded Green Space?

Here’s your chance to help!

Below is a list (though certainly not exhaustive) of talking points you can use if you choose to call or email the mayor, city council members, parks and recreation, etc. regarding the “development” plans at Richmond Hill Park. The list is meant to give you ideas, but your call/ email will be most effective if you express your concerns in your own words. Calling/emailing these decision-makers is one of the most effective ways to have your voice heard, so please contact them to express your concerns today

Mayor Terry Bellamy: mayorbellamy@ashevillenc.gov (828) 259-5600

City council member Robin Cape: rcape@charter.net (828) 216-4009

City council member Jan Davis: jandavis@main.nc.us (828) 253-5634

City council member Bryan Freeborn: freeborn@main.nc.us (828) 251-2176

Vice Mayor/City council Holly Jones: hollyj@buncombe.main.nc.us (828) 281-4804

City council member Dr. Carl Mumpower: drmumpower@aol.com (828) 252-8390

City council member Brownie Newman: bnewman@main.nc.us (828) 243-0107

Parks and Rec. director Irby Brinson: IBrinson@ashevillenc.gov (828) 259-5808

Parks Landscape architect: Seth Hendler: SHendler@ashevillenc.gov (828) 259-5508

Parks and Rec. Jim Orr: jorr@ashevillenc.gov (828)259-5800

City Manager Gary Jackson: GJackson@ashevillenc.gov

-Introduce yourself to the person you are calling. Let them know if you are a tax-paying citizen of the city of Asheville. If you are not, you can let them know your connection to the city and the park, and why you care about this issue.

-Express your concern over the proposed development at Richmond Hill Park for some or all of the following reasons (or any others that you may have):

-Richmond Hill Park is Asheville’s largest wooded green space. At 183 acres, this forest is a unique, valuable, and irreplaceable element of Asheville’s city park system. No other park in Asheville provides city residents with the same outdoor recreation, nature and wildlife experiences as Richmond Hill Park. If this park is “developed” according to the proposed plan, the city of Asheville and its residents will lose forever much of the uniqueness and value of the site, qualities that make it an outdoor sanctuary for the people to enjoy. This goes counter to the heart and soul of the residents of the city, and the image that makes Asheville so attractive to residents and visitors alike

-The park is perfectly suited for low-impact outdoor recreation and nature appreciation. There is no better publicly owned place in the city to walk on wooded trails, mountain bike, walk your dogs, go bird watching, or take nature walks and appreciate wildlife. This is an experience that is unique to Richmond Hill Park among Asheville’s parks, and it should be preserved for these purposes. If the “development” occurs as planned, the outdoor experience will be greatly diminished, and the remaining forest will be ecologically poorer than it currently is. The increased "Edge Effect" will increase exotic invasive species establishment within the park, decreasing biodiversity, and wildlife habitat quality. This is why the edge of a forest looks and is different than the “deep Woods”.

-The site is a poor choice for both ball fields and an armory. The terrain at the site is very hilly and wooded, which will require large amounts of forest to be clear-cut, and then extensive heavy grading and leveling. 20% or 30-35 contiguous acres of the park are slated to be cleared and developed. In the process, many plants and animals will be killed, and erosion and sedimentation will severely degrade the quality of the streams found on the property. To treat the land at the site in this manner is to waste its’ intrinsic value, and to create irreparable damage to the park and landscape. We should instead restore an already degraded and cleared/leveled landscape for the creation of ball-fields/armory, and/or use the ones that have already been built more efficiently.

I agree that it is important to have ball fields, but this is not the place for them!

-There are a number of rare and area-sensitive species that live in the park. By reducing the park by 20% of its size, many of these species will be lost. A thorough count and catalogue of the species currently living in the park should be taken before any “development” takes place, as it is possible some threatened and endangered species may live there. Any environmental assessment should examine both the Armory and Ball field Complex jointly. Anything less is not a true assessment of the impact on the park!

-The project will create high traffic volume in the currently quiet and safe neighborhood. This poses obvious threats to pedestrians and pets, but will also lead to more localized congestion, increased air, noise and light pollution.

After you have voiced your concerns, thank them for their time and for hearing you. Let them know this is an extremely important issue to you, and that you will be monitoring it closely.

You can further express your opposition to the “development” at Richmond Hill by signing a petition asking city officials to stop this project. Sign the Petition at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/3063317798

Thanks for your support in helping to protect Asheville’s largest wooded green space for people, wildlife and future generations. Every voice counts, make sure they hear Yours!

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