Announcements: Bess McDavid
City Neighborhood grants- neighborhood associations, etc can apply for grants that enhance the community in some way- street fairs, festivals, street calming.
$2000 per grant, $5000 neighborhood max; also we have to have a 1-1 match in kind or donations.
Committee heads will decide what the want to do, deadline to apply is Oct.31 and application is simple.
We have been talking with the AARP for funding, our liaison is George Gregor Holt.
They are providing some funds for our Open Street event.
Save Oakley Library yard signs are out!
Garden Committee (Alison): Fairview Road Resilience Garden
Volunteer days- Wednesdays and Saturday through Octoberish (volunteer sign up form)
Fall crops harvesting, preparing for winter.
All produce is donating to Bounty and Soul.
Will need help spreading leaf mulch.
Listening sessions have been paused until we can meet in person, nothing will go forward until the first of the year.
Yard Signs- reach out if you want one!
Will have a presence at Open Streets
Continue to reach out to County Commissioners, use the library!!
Recent press in Mountain Xpress regarding our effort.
Tree Committee (Alison)
Sent out an email to folks who have expressed interest.
Will meet soon to hash out main goals and objectives.
Purpose? Helping preserve old, large mature oak trees (can include other trees), educate our neighbors @ benefits of our trees, working with developers to spare some trees during development, planting new trees, etc.
Neighborhood Watch (Ricky)
16 calls for service, 2 domestics, 2 larceny.
8.6 hours of proactive service- mostly traffic enforcement.
Will work on getting county hours.
?- anyone working on speeding on Fairview?- see transportation.
Open Street is about walkability, connectivity, livability.
We are concerned with our traffic volume and speed- we are looking for traffic calming, traffic stops, engineered solutions, sidewalks (maybe lobby for bonds for funds).
We will be taking input for neighbors, ideas on how to improve our traffic problems.
Open Streets- using the space to showcase what our neighborhood has going on.
AARP- donated $500, Sunshine Sammies first 35 people will get free ice cream.
Asheville on Bikes are partnering with us, will have a kids bike event.
Treat this event like you would if we had this space to use.
This is the first iteration and thrown together quickly, will be repeating in spring.
Rich- we can get a speed study done for Fairview Road.
Michael- we are in line to get that study done.
Will need help keeping website updated.
Like and share Oakley page on Facebook.
Looking to reach more neighbors- going door-to-door, fliers.
Getting neighborhood flags.
Ramada Inn Presentation Cathy Ball, City of Asheville (COA) Manager
COA is looking to purchase the Ramada Inn to have a low barrier shelter, currently an emergency shelter.
COA is taking bids on partners to run the shelter, council will vote on whether or not to purchase property.
COA is looking to this as being primarily an emergency shelter, daily/weekly homeless shelter.
History- Homeward Bound, VA, Mission were renting blocks of room for people “coming through town for different reasons,” number of unsheltered people in Asheville has doubled, although we have lots of great shelters, some people have really strong crises issues that prevents them from being in a congregant setting- health issues, especially drugs issues.
Drug use/violence will not be allowed on site.
COA is looking for a partner to run it, but it will not be a walk up situation.
COA is looking to have mental health, medical, addiction service on site for residents.
During the pandemic, COA was adding extra housing space in the Harris center, but found FEMA funds for non-congregant housing at Red Roof. Non-congregant setting seems to be pretty helpful in getting people permanently housed.
Ramada has 6+ acres- this location has enough land to transition into permanent affordable housing.
As far as neighborhood impacts, if COA purchases this property, they will be able to put up security fencing, extra sidewalks, and closely monitor who is on the property, and COA intends to work with neighborhood groups to make sure we are not experiencing negative effects.
Operational costs for the building 2.5 million, COA is working with Dogwood regarding that funding.
Q:So Dogwood is providing operational cost funding?
A: No, Dogwood is just assisting with finding funding. They are asking COA/County to provide operational costs for first 3 years. Have not gotten approval for that.
Comment: we should probably get a handle on operational cost funding before we purchase this property. Where would this funding come from?
A: ARPA funds- American Rescue Funds, COA would not purchase without a plan for the first 3 years operational costs.
Housing Choice voucher won’t qualify here because the hotel rooms don’t meet qualifications.
This is a good opportunity for public safety- this would be somewhere where a homeless/mental health crisis could be addressed instead of the hospital, jail, etc.
Q: If 2.5 million is the operational fee, how did you come up with that estimate?
A: One from Woodfin downtown, and 2 proposals with that cost, it is a very expensive option. Gainsville, FL and Raleigh, NC are doing the same sort of project.
Q: Concerning the crime level and whether or not crimes are being committed by residents or others, when could we get those numbers?
A: WLOS did a study regarding arrests in the area and showed that those have dropped, but calls for service were through the roof when COA first starting housing people at the Ramada.
Q: Background checks for individuals entering the facility?
Q: What about people who have criminal backgrounds? Seems concerning
A: COA is concerned with safety across the board of all people and this non-congregant setting affords people the ability to lock their belongings up. Also, as people are concerned with close proximity to the school, please call 911 if there ever is an issue.
Q: We would like to have continued representation on a committee for this shelter. Is this going to be the case?
Q: Currently there is only one bus to the shelter, is there any plan to increase bus service?
A: we could think about that in the future, one of the providers wants to have a van.
Q: Will mental health services be provided to people who aren’t homeless?
A: No, services will only be for residents.
Comment: You can definitely see potential at this site, it is pretty quiet, kind of like a quiet dorm. When you hear day shelter, you tend to think of a lot of people milling around all day because they are supposed to be out by a certain time in the morning. What is the plan for when people are to be out of their rooms by day?
A: People have a room until they have a plan to exit, or they commit an infraction that gets them kicked out.
What about people who are just going to squat? Most people want their own place and don’t want to stay indefinitely. The providers hired to run shelter will work with people on their plan.
A: for drug abusers there will be treatment on site so they can get clean in safety, but we don’t want drug dealers around.
Comment: There is a drug treatment/psychiatric help over at MAHEC, we might like to help out as neighbors at the shelter as well.
Comment: one resident has said that he has been able to get what he needs in Oakley and hasn’t had to ‘go through the tunnel’ (i.e. hasn't had to make a trip into downtown) since getting a space.
Q: Will the neighborhood still have input after shelter is up and running?
A: There is a recommendation for an ongoing oversight committee and a COA employee for an overseer position
Comment: open communication is good for trust between the neighborhood and COA
Tell your neighbors about Open Streets on Oct. 16 12-5pm Thompson Street.
Next Meeting: November 16th