Buncombe County tasked with distributing $39 million in COVID relief funding

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
The Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce pitched a plan to move closer to the downtown businesses it supports.

The county commissioners have been tasked to distribute $39 million in American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 relief funding.

The Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce proposed investing in a capital improvement project to purchase property downtown. This would help the chamber to move its location closer to the downtown businesses it supports and for the visitor center to become a trailhead for the Black Mountain greenways. 

"It's an infrastructure project that supports small businesses and nonprofits," said Sharon Tabor, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. 

Among other things, the project would allow the chamber to build a 41-space parking deck to alleviate parking stress in the growing business community. The change in location would create an easier environment for visitors to navigate the town as well as add tour bus parking. 

While the footprint of the building itself would be reduced, Tabor said there would be more space for workforce training in conjunction with the bike store, resources for the library and a partnership with A-B Tech. 

"It would just make us a more viable entity for the community," Tabor said. 

The Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce pitched a plan to move closer to the downtown businesses it supports.

The county commissioners had 150 applications from businesses, yet only five came from the Swannanoa Valley. The Camber of Commerce, Bounty and Soul, the Christlot Christian Academy, the Swannanoa Valley Childcare Council and LEAF Global Arts all submitted applications. 

The commissioners cannot make their decision on how specifically to allocate the funding until they receive extra guidelines from the federal government. Tabor said they don't know when the decision will be made but they're completing the solicitations so as to be ready.