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.