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Tourism board supports proposed Asheboro greenway

ASHEBORO  — A proposed North Asheboro Greenway has received the support of the Randolph County Tourism Development Authority Board of Directors.


On Jan. 25, the board voted unanimously to send a letter to the North Carolina Department of Transportation Integrated Mobility Division in Raleigh, showing support of the City of Asheboro’s application for a paved trails and sidewalk feasibility study grant. 


The letters says, in part, 

“The North Asheboro Greenway would wind through a diverse cross-section of land-uses and connect residents and visitors alike to the great natural wonders offered by Asheboro and Randolph County.


“In addition, the greenway would link together existing and potential future neighborhoods with not only public elementary and middle schools, but also one of Asheboro’s largest and most frequented parks.


“Completion of the greenway would accomplish goals of several local planning efforts, address residents’ strong desire, as determined through multiple public engagement efforts, for more outdoor recreation opportunities, and implement a route of the Great Trails State Plan. …”


Justin Luck, planning and zoning administrator for the City of Asheboro, told Randolph Hub that the greenway project is in the “very preliminary stages.” He said the staff saw an opportunity to apply for a grant to do a feasibility study on a possible greenway that could run from Vision Drive toward Central Avenue with a connection at Bailey Street and to Balfour Elementary and North Asheboro Middle School, and North Asheboro Park.


Luck stressed that the application for the grant has been submitted but no answer has been received from the NCDOT.


If approved, the grant would allow for a study to see if a greenway in that area is feasible as well as suggest potential routes, engage with residents and provide estimated costs of building a greenway. 


Luck said letters of support have also been sent by the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce and by Randolph County trails coordinator Mary Joan Pugh. 


The Asheboro City Council will likely be asked to offer its support in February and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council is expected to support the greenway study.


Luck said the area being looked at is identified in the city’s Land Development Plan and its pedestrian plan. It could also be included in the Great Trails State Plan.


The TDA board also approved a resolution of support for trails and the NC General Assembly’s proclamation of 2023 as the Year of the Trail. In fact, the focus of the Heart of North Carolina 2023 Visitors Guide is The Year of the Trail as well as this being the TDA’s 25th anniversary.


In other business, the board:

• Heard a report from Susan Dosier of DK Communications on marketing results for 2022. She said there were nine print stories on Randolph County tourism sites with a total estimated readership of 6.67 million. There were 47 online stories reaching an estimated 479,000 with another 23,000 shares. Of the media coverage, Dosier said, 56 local destinations were included.


•Received an update from Richard Schoenberger of Manor House Graphics on advertising by the Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau for the period ending Dec. 31, 2002. Ads were placed in Randolph Hub, The Courier-Tribune, Our State Magazine, Chatham Magazine, Durham Magazine, Chapel Hill Magazine, The Griffon 108, the Visit NC Partner Program and the 2023 Travel Guide.


•Were told by county Finance Officer Will Massie that revenues for fiscal year 2022-23 were up by 7 percent as of Nov. 30. Total revenues through November were $629,990.67, which is 55.63 percent of the budgeted amount of $1,132,545. Expenditures through November were $510,519.05.


In his message to the board, Massie said the fiscal year budget was “a very conservative estimate for occupancy tax distributions. Based on tax collections through November occupancy of over $600,000, we should see an increase in the current year.”


With that, Massie requested, and the board approved, increasing the occupancy tax in the budget from $800,000 to $1 million and increasing expenditures for personnel to $75,000, operating to $14,500 and marketing to $110,500.


As for the I-73/74 Visitor Centers, total receipts through November were $173,571.00. The budget for the fiscal year is $220,000.


•Saw an increase in hotel figures from 2021 to 2022. According to TDA Executive Director Amber Scarlett, occupancy in Randolph County hotels was up by 3.2 percent, average daily rate increased by 20.2 percent and revenue per available room increased by 23.4 percent. Demand for rooms went up by 3.2 percent and hotel revenues increased by 23.4 percent.


•Learned that attendance at the I-73/73 Visitor Centers increased from 2021 to 2022 by 6 percent. That was despite being 12 percent behind the previous year in the first quarter and 32 percent behind in the second quarter. Attendance shot up during the third quarter by 36 percent and by 72 percent in the fourth quarter.