Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to All!
Hi ONA neighbors,
When we started to revitalize the Oakley Neighborhood Association last spring, we had no idea of all the opportunities that 2021 would present us with! Here’s a quick rundown of all we have accomplished this year in putting our vision into practice. Thanks to everyone who stepped up to volunteer and participate in the year’s work.
1. One of the first things we worked on and that helped galvanize ONA was when our beloved Oakley library was threatened with closure. We worked with neighbors in Shiloh and multiple members who wrote letters and emails, showed up for public comment at County Commission meetings, and put out signs. We also had the Library Board come to one of our meetings to hear us. We attended multiple listening sessions, both online and in person, and our friends at #saveOakleylibrary distributed signs for our yards. All this resulted in the County rejecting the closure, and we participated in a celebration of our success. We still need to support the library and be involved in the phase to improve the library.
2. Our Fairview Road Resilience Garden had its second year of production and gave a whopping 875 pounds of fresh veggies to Bounty and Soul in Swannanoa.
3. We had the City of Asheville Greenways specialist, Lucy Crown present us with the plans for the new greenway that will go from Biltmore Avenue to Glendale and beyond. That, in turn, led us to a walk on Thompson Street and the decision to hold and Open Streets event on Thompson Street. With little lead time, our Events and Transit committees worked closely with Asheville on Bikes, the AARP and the TDM/Land of Sky to organize and hold this event, which allowed people to walk, bike, jog and take over the street for a few hours on October 16th.
4. We held a Spring Cleanup on March 20 from the Swannanoa River to Sweeten Creek Rd in collaboration with Asheville Greenworks, Daymoon Coffeebar, and including Highland Brewing employees as well as about 50 total Oakley residents. We collected and disposed of over 2,000 pounds of trash.
5. We had a presentation of the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) in April about their work.
6. We facilitated discussion and information sharing around the City’s potential purchase of the Ramada Inn for a low-barrier shelter, by meeting with both City employees and a group of folks from River Ridge area. As you know, the city eventually decided against moving forward on that, and instead it’s being converted to permanent supportive housing.
7. We applied and got approved for two grants from the city’s new Neighborhood Grants Program: one for $2,000 to help us identify a brand and launch it; and the other for the Trees committee, to develop a Treasured Trees program.
8. We also worked on some administrative items: we opened a bank account with Home Trust Bank, and we worked on our bylaws.
9. We also have a draft Facility agreement, where the City will let
us use the Oakley Park Shelter (outside) and/or the Murphy-Oakley Recreation Center (inside) for our meetings or events. We already have a list of days and times in 2022 when we can use them. In January and February, we only have the rec center, below the library. In January, the dates include Jan 4, from 6-8 pm, Jan 22 and 23, from 1-6 pm each day. In Feb, they are: Feb 12 and 13, from 1-6 pm each day. Please let me know at email@example.com if you want to use the Rec Center at any of these times for any committee meetings or other events.
In 2022, we plan to keep moving ahead. We hope to finalize the new bylaws and present them for adoption, receive the grant money and begin work on the projects. Our Branding and Design team will lead up the branding work, so if you are interested in helping out, please contact us at the email below. Likewise the Tree committee will get busy on setting up the Treasured Trees program. If you are interested in that, please let us know!
On January 9, from 10-12, our Fairview Road Resilience Garden will hold a work day to spread compost and wood chips on our beds, to enhance next year’s crop and all are invited to come out, even if for just 30 minutes, or to see the garden.
We also plan to hold another Open Streets Day (May 22, mark your calendars now!) on Thompson Street, and host information sharing on any number of topics of interest to the membership. If you have a group or person you’d like to make a presentation to us on their work, we can arrange it. To do all this, we need your participation and volunteerism. We will be making calls soon for help on the Open Streets Day May 22, which will be headed up by our Events committee. This can be a big event and we hope to launch our brand then, but lots of advance planning and volunteers are needed. We will have many more sponsors and May 22 will come up fast!
If you are interested in joining any of the following committees, please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with the right person:
Branding and Design
All the best to Oakley Neighborhood Association and our friends and neighbors for a joyous, healthy and happy 2022!
(Photo credit: New Year Vectors by hankovergood at Vecteezy)