This Waynesville, North Carolina partnership is a model for restoring urban streams

The town of Waynesville (population around 9900) is the county seat of Haywood County, North Carolina. It sits about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Asheville, picturesquely situated between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Waynesville is currently in the midst of a major makeover of three of its urban streams. It’s a renovation that fish, crayfish and salamanders alike are likely to find satisfactory.

One of the three projects is already complete, a rehabilitation of Shelton Branch at the Waynesville Recreation Park that wrapped up in October of 2017, with stream restorations at East Street Park and Chestnut Park poised to start soon.

The restoration of the result of a partnership of three agencies: the City of Waynesville, the Haywood Waterways Association, and the Southwestern North Carolina Resource Conservation & Development Council.

This partnered approach has been the key to getting a series of community renewal projects—like these three stream restorations—off the ground. Each agency has a different area of expertise, different community connections and different grant opportunities.

We’re often each of us in our realm given grant opportunities that maybe the other one doesn’t get,” says Town Planner Elizabeth Teague. “So by working together, we can leverage in funds and also share and match so that we’re making the dollar go the farthest it can to get these projects done, and that’s been really important here in Haywood County.

Up next is a stream restoration at Chestnut Park, a 3-acre parcel of which the town gained ownership in September 2015. Upon securing the title, the town received a small grant to fix up some of the park furnishings and landed a $24,500 grant from the Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to complete engineering work on the stream restoration.

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina is a nonprofit organization established in 1978 to build a permanent pool of charitable capital for the 18 counties of Western North Carolina. They currently manage $307 million in assets, with a long-term investment strategy that permanently protects and grows these funds. Their mission is to inspire philanthropy and mobilize resources to enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina.

Photos courtesy of the Town of Waynesville.

See article by Holly Kays in the Smoky Mountain News.

See official Town of Wayneville website.

See Community Foundation of Western North Carolina website.

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