Monday, October 29, 2012

RiverLink announces 2012 RiverBusiness Awards

Each year the  RiverLink Board of Directors recognizes businesses and industries that have made significant contributions to our community and region by helping to make  the French Broad River watershed a destination where everyone is invited to live, work and play. This year the RiverLink board is delighted to recognize The Asheville Brewers Alliance, The Montford Neighborhood Association, The Self-Help Credit Union, PSNC Energy, and Sundance Solar Power & FLS Energy. 

The Asheville Brewers Alliance
The RiverLink Board of Director is proud to honor the Asheville Brewers Alliance and its members for making the greater Asheville area a destination for craft beer. ABA members include:
  • Asheville Brewing Company
  • Bruisin' Ales
  • Brews Cruise
  • Craggie Brewing Company
  • French Broad Brewing Company
  • Green Man Brewing Company
  • Highland Brewing Company
  • Lexington Avenue Brewery
  • Oyster House Brewing
  • Wedge Brewing Company
  • Southern Appalachian Brewery
  • Catawba Valley Brewing Company
  • Heinzelmannchen Brewing Company
  • Nantahala Brewing Company
  • Pisgah Brewing Company
  • MALT
  • Thirsty Monk

The ABA established Asheville as "Beer City USA" through their creativity, entrepreneurship, hard work, sophisticated brewing, and dedication to excellence of product.  The reputation and products of the greater Asheville brewing community were instrumental in gaining this national reputation and recognition for our region.  Their combined efforts and impact was also instrumental in attracting Sierra Nevada (second-largest craft brewer in the nation) and New Belgium Brewing (third-largest) to our region.  Our local brewers welcomed and partner where possible with these larger companies in an effort to make the beer scene even bigger and better for everyone. Since over 90% of their product is water, our brewing industry partners are collectively and individually the best advocates for clean water and the very best example of the economic impact that protection of our natural resources -- water in particular -- can bring to our region.

Montford Neighborhood Association
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor The Montford Neighborhood Association for raising and donating $12,000 to RiverLink towards our $60,000 goal to help implement the greenway at the former Health Adventure site. This group of homeowners and businesses have banded together to make not just their neighborhood better but the entire greenway linkage better from the downtown to the river and the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. The greenway will help establish another vital link in the system as well as improve an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful area, while raising property values and improving the quality of life for our entire community.

Self- Help Credit Union
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor the Self-Help Credit Union as a lender in the emerging riverfront areas. The Board recognizes that access to capital, particularly in an emerging area, is a critical first step to sustainable development.  Self-Help participated in the construction loan from SunTrust to do the affordable housing development at the Glen Rock Project.  SunTrust was paid off by a package of financing that was just on the housing part.  Self-Help was the sole lender on the commercial part-the Glen Rock Commercial building, which offers affordable commercial space in the river district.  This project led to additional development in the River Arts District like the Pink Dog Studios, a RiverBusiness 2011 award winner.  Self-Help also invested in an early 2002 loan in the historic but then largely unknown Chicken Hill neighborhood. That project didn't work out, Self-Help didn't lose any money but they demonstrated the willingness to invest and did invest in a project in a part of the urban riverfront neighborhood called "Chicken Hill"  that was virtually unknown in 2002. 

Sundance Power Systems & FLS Energy
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor Sundance Power Systems & FLS Energy as alternative energy leaders for our region.  Developing affordable alternative energy sources to add to the existing basket of energy alternatives is an ongoing goal of every town, city and nation. These two local companies have demonstrated their entrepreneurship and risk-taking by establishing successful solar power companies that have help fuel WNC as a destination for sustainability, alternative energy production and creativity.  The employees at FLS donate regularly to RiverLink as part of their community support and outreach program. In addition FLS has had two river locations for its business including its most recent move to the River Arts District. This past summer Sundance Power Systems took a leap of faith with RiverLink to provide solar power for our five-night concert series, RiverMUSIC.  In order to volunteer and help sponsor RiverMusic Sundance purchased backup generators and had operators and staff at each concert to ensure that the systems worked.

PSNC Energy
The RiverLink Board of Directors is pleased to honor PSNC Energy for its donation of a historic building in the heart of the River Arts District to be used as a much-needed public restrooms and central information center.  PSNC Energy undertook several structural studies of the building as well as environmental cleanup prior to offering to donate the building for public use and benefit.  PSNC took special pride in the brick building that once housed its administrative offices, and was commonly referred to as the "Gas Works Building."  Built in 1910, one of the unique features of the building is that it sits on piers that allow a stream to flow just under it right into the French Broad River.  It is a one-story building with a gabled roof with peaked parapet end walls and pilaster corners with projecting capstones.  The Gas Works Building was identified as a historic structure in the 1987 historic building inventory undertaken by RiverLink in cooperation with the local chapter of the American Institute of Architect before holding its first charette in 1989. It was later included in the list of industrial historic buildings that form the riverfront industrial historic district.

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