Board hears updated timeline on Avadim project

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
Here’s an artist’s rendering of the planned Avadim Technologies headquarters in Black Mountain.

Work on the water and wastewater infrastructure related to the planned expansion of Avadim Technologies, Inc. will begin in the coming months, according to the project timeline submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Erica Anderson, director of economic development for the Land of Sky Regional Council and administrator of the grant associated with the project, shared that timeline with Black Mountain aldermen on Feb. 12.  

Avadim, an Asheville-based biotechnology company, announced in September 2016 that it would build a $24 million headquarters just outside the town limits, west of Blue Ridge Road and south of Interstate 40. The expansion will bring 551 new jobs to the surrounding area, according the company.

Though the 100,000-square-foot facility will be located outside town limits, Black Mountain will provide 250,000 gallons of water per day Avadim needs to produce its hygienic care skin products. 

The town received grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration ($827,580) and Golden LEAF ($775,000), as well from the privately owned Black Mountain Commerce Park ($52,000), to purchase a water pump capable of moving 750,000 gallons of water per day. The grant money will also cover the site water and wastewater infrastructure.

The EDA grant was awarded to the town on Dec. 1Beginning stages of the project got underway officially on Jan. 2 in the form a "project kick-off" phone call with EDA, Anderson said. 

The next step is to submit to the EDA the necessary site certification document, which will allow work to take place in the various rights-of-way leading to the site. Once that documentation is approved by the EDA, bids for the project will be accepted. 

Alderman Larry Harris said the infrastructure work could begin about April. He said road work being done for the project would take about three months.

“The only thing I would add, for the public to be aware of, is that the (N.C. Department of Transportation) will start work on the access road at about the same time,” he said. “That project is already funded through the NCDOT.”

Harris asked town manager Matt Settlemyer if the work on the water and sewer infrastructure would take eight to nine months.

“I think so,” Settlemyer said. “The goal is, if all goes well, to have it done by the end of the year.”

In an unrelated business, the board  furthered its support of Children and Friends Enrichment Center’s pursuit of a State Employees Credit Union grant that could allow the Black Mountain daycare to build a facility at White Pine Drive. Aldermen voted 4-0 (Carlos Showers was absent) to approve a resolution of support for the organization’s request of the funding. All five members of the board previously voted  to approve a memorandum of understanding outlining the parameters of a possible agreement between the daycare and town.   

In another item, alderman Ryan Stone, the Black Mountain representative on the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization Board, announced that funding for a parking study of downtown Black Mountain was approved in January. The MPO Board is made up of government representatives from 21 municipalities in the region.

The state will provide $28,000 for the study, while the town is required to contribute $7,000. Through a request for proposal, the town will solicit a contractor to perform the study. 

Also at the meeting, aldermen voted unanimously to adopt a “resolution of the town’s intent and desire” to accept the vast majority of land left to the Southern Appalachian Conservancy by Mary Hemphill to be used as a park. Hemphill passed away in February 2017 and asked that more than  25 acres of her land, south of I-40 on the town’s east side, be used by the down to develop a park.

The board’s resolution specified that the town would not accept a 1.7-acre piece of land on a noncontiguous parcel with limited access.

“This resolution acknowledges our intent to develop that property as a town park and not to develop it any other way,” Settlemyer said. “We’ve had discussions about uses for that property as we move forward, and this resolution expresses our interest with the conservancy and the estate as well.”