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An Overview of GroWNC

Who: Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) was asked by area local governments to serve as the grant administrator and coordinating agency for GroWNC, the Sustainable Communities Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A Consortium of local governments, organizations and community members is leading the process.  Interested groups and organizations can join the Consortium by reading and completing the Consortium agreement found here.

Consortium members will self-select into one of several Work Groups, organized around the core study areas:

  • Jobs/Economic Development
  • Housing                                                           
  • Natural Resources
  • Cultural Resources
  • Energy
  • Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Health & Wellness

The Consortium is led by an 18-member Steering Committee, which is responsible for prioritizing work activities, participating in the selection of consultants, approving public involvement approaches, and making critical recommendations to guide the project and staff.

The Steering Committee appointments were made according to the following process, per the guidelines set forth in the Consortium Agreement:
The Steering Committee appointments must adhere to the following process, per the funding guidelines:

  • The City of Asheville will have one seat, appointed by Asheville City Council (the central city is a required member under HUD guidelines).
  • The County Commissioners of each County will each appoint one member to represent the county and its municipalities.  
  • Each Workgroup will nominate 2 – 3 individuals as candidates for appointment to the Steering Committee. From those Workgroup nominations, the Land-of-Sky Regional Council Board will appoint one representative from each Workgroup (for a total of 7 representatives of the Workgroups). The Land-of-Sky Regional Council Board may recommend changes to the Steering Committee structure if deemed necessary to meet the Consortium’s equity goals.
  • The Federal and State Partners Workgroup will have 3 Ex-Officio (non-voting) representatives on the Steering Committee, one each from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

What: GroWNC is focused on economic competitiveness and job creation for our region. Over the course of a year, the GroWNC project team, Consortium, Steering Committee, and Workgroups are listening to community input, carefully examining existing plans, and presenting models to the region that will demonstrate what future economic growth looks like for our region. 

At a series of community meetings, residents of the region will be asked about their goals for the future of our community and to identify strategies, actions and early implementation projects that should be brought forward for final recommendation to the Steering Committee, LOS Board, and participating member governments and organizations.  
The desired outcome for the GroWNC process is the identification of action steps that will create:

  • quality jobs
  • new investment in this region
  • diverse economic development strategies
  • quality housing options
  • efficient transportation systems
  • energy and financial savings
  • healthier people and communities
  • better use of natural and cultural resources

Where:  The GroWNC process will engage the residents of the five counties of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania, primarily through workgroups, targeted Community Meetings, and one-on-one communication as needed.

When:  Public engagement began in the first quarter of 2012 with the launch of eight workgroups.  The first round of community meetings is taking place in May 2012 and the final round of community meetings will take place in the fall of 2012, with final presentation to the participating member governments by the end of the year.  Workgroups will continue to meet throughout the process.   A meeting schedule is always available on the home page of www.gro-wnc.org.

How to Participate?

  • The GroWNC Consortium is made up of a mix of representatives from the governing bodies from each county, nonprofits, community groups, businesses, public and private housing groups, planning, transportation, economic development, research, educational and philanthropic organizations, and other groups interested in the future of our region.  Interested groups can request to become a Consortium member, submit a signed agreement, and participate on that level. 
  • Workgroup participation. Workgroups will be formed around key topic areas.  Consortium members must commit to have representation on a Workgroup. Workgroup meetings will always be open to the public.  Interested residents can attend these meetings or share their thoughts and ideas with the Workgroups.
  • Community Meetings. There are two major opportunities for participation: Spring and Fall of 2012.  The first Community Meeting will share the initial findings from the information gathering, research, and synthesis phase.  Everyone will have an opportunity at that point to tell us how close or far off we are from your long range vision for the region.  We’ll take that input and begin working on the overall plan for the final Community Meeting
  • It is important that community members participate in these two phases of Community Meetings; however, we recognize that not everyone can attend meetings when scheduled. To accommodate for that, there are options to take this part of the process “on the road” via our Community Road Trip.  Anyone can download a meeting package, take it to their community group or club, and facilitate a mini-community meeting in their corner of the region. These Community Road Trips are meant to be ‘taken’ solo as well. Either way it’s completed, as a group or individually, it’s valuable information to the process and will be used and incorporated.
  • Ongoing community group participation. There are many planning processes and efforts in our region; we have an active community!  Continue to support those groups and share your feedback and planning ideas as you produce them.
  • Share a Story on our website. Tell us what makes our region special, what you value about it and what we can do to keep it that way or make it better.
  • Email us at GroWNC@landofksy.org. Let us know your thoughts and ideas. 

For more information on GroWNC, visit www.gro-wnc.org or call Land-of-Sky at 828-251-6622.