Clarke Snell, Managing Director of the Nauhaus Institute is pictured with Cliff Sterns, HUD Field Director, and Gary Dimmick, HUD Community Planning and Development Director
The Nauhaus Group presented our West Asheville prototype and mixed-use Brevard project at a recent meeting centered around the new Obama Administration’s “Sustainable Communities Initiative”. Regional Directors of key federal agencies including HUD, the EPA, DOT, and USDA carpooled to Asheville for a 5 hour meeting marathon on October 29th. Greg Sills of BluEcon Project Management and Philippe Rosse of Eblen-Kimmel Charities organized the soiree to introduce the feds to the “Asheville Experience”.
Sitting in this meeting, I was once again blown away by how much amazing brain power and passion we’ve been able to cram into this tiny mountain community. The line-up included the Asheville Design Center’s large-scale urban development project for the redesign of I-26; the City of Asheville’s thoughtful Riverfront Redevelopment project; the Nauhaus’ rad model for carbon neutral living; and a (there’s no other word for it) kickin’ presentation from Asheville Go!, our local green workforce readiness initiative. DeWayne Barton closed Go!’s spiel with a passionate spoken word performance that blew me away. (Damn, I love this place!) Maybe the best summary of the Asheville vibe came during HUD Regional Director Chris Stearns opening remarks when he apologized for wearing a suit.
To me, the meeting seemed like a real success. Joe Minicozzi, Urban Planner for the Asheville Design Center, called it a “first date” and I think most people who were there are looking forward to the second. Personally, I love doing these presentations because we always get an enthusiastic response. But fielding intelligent, interested questions from people who really have the resources to make a difference, steps it up a notch. I’m looking forward to see where these connections lead.