Local kayakers may soon be able to enjoy the adventure and excitement of a whitewater course as plans for a new park on the French Broad River come into consideration.
During a City Council meeting on March 24, members heard from advocates of the park that would most likely be built in the River Arts District (RAD).
Although no formal vote was given, members were in an overall agreement to look over the plans for the course, which would include rapids and other man-made features that would need to be built.
The news has been well received throughout the community, especially from science teacher Megan Sanders. Sanders, who is very interested and involved in the RAD, believes that the whitewater park would be a good resource to the area.
“I’ve heard that it will be right outback from the New Belgium Brewery. We don’t really do anything on the French Broad River, but I’ve noticed the number of people on the river go up in the past two years,” Sanders said. “That’s just such a great spot because it is accessible, people can park there, they can eat, and hang out with friends.”
The New Belgium Brewery is planning to hold their groundbreaking on May 1, 2015. According to Marcus Smith, Nighttime Supervisor of White Duck Taco in the RAD, he thinks they will see an influx of sales.
“I think that the new water park would absolutely increase our business, especially with the new development of sidewalks from the Brewery,” Smith said.
Junior Jayson Smith is excited for the new park because of its location.
“I will definitely go a lot,” he said. “I normally go to Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), which is like an hour and a half away, so the new park sounds amazing. The location is great.”
As of now, kayakers in the area have options to travel to the NOC, which is located in Bryson City, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, among other locations.
Sanders hopes that the park will be able to reach all age groups, especially kids.
“It should be kid-friendly, at least I would hope. It could mean getting a nice whitewater club here in Asheville, which we don’t have. There used to be one, but there hasn’t been for a long time,” Sanders said. “The new park could allow kid clubs and kayaking clubs to get going.”
The City Council members will continue to discuss the plans for the park during their weekly meetings.