Greetings from a busy Friends office at the WNC Nature Center on a beautiful spring day!
This is an update on the City's threat to close the Center and assure you that the Friends are working hard to keep that from happening. We were already in discussions about a public/ private partnership with the City and were shocked by the proposal.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Friends learned that the City of Asheville put a proposal forth that included closing the WNC Nature Center, along with a number of other city resources and programs, to balance the city budget, which will be short $5.7 million if recent bills introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly are passed. The City of Asheville is hard-pressed to find solutions to balance the budget if these bills are passed.
In 2011 the Center adopted a new 2020 Vision that outlines a strategic business plan for improvements and additions to the Center. This plan includes initiatives to alleviate demands on the City of Asheville budget to operate the Center and to reconfigure the Center into a public/private partnership. Thanks to supporters, the 2020 Vision is already becoming a reality.
Discussions will continue with the City and with Council members to address this threat and find a sustainable solution for the Center now and into the future.