RiverLink Breaks Ground at Future Karen Cragnolin Park

RiverLink is delighted to announce the long-awaited launch of construction to activate and connect Karen Cragnolin Park with a paved path linked to the ribbon of river parks on each side.General contractor Baker Construction began work at the site of this former brownfield at 190 Amboy Road the week of March 20, 2023.

The Greenway Phase of the project marks the transformation of the once-contaminated property—which has been fenced off for years—by launching construction of a paved path along with innovative stormwater features for flood mitigation, water quality protections and enhancements, pollinator meadows with native grasses, educational signage, and more.

“Asheville and its relationship with the river have come a long way since Karen Cragnolin first arrived in the mid-80s,” said Lisa Raleigh, Executive Director for RiverLink. “It’s an honor to be part of this amazing three-decade journey and we are grateful to be activating this community amenity in celebration of our visionary founder and her tireless work on the French Broad River’s behalf.”

RiverLink acquired the five-acre parcel in 2006. The property was once home to an auto-crushing operation, where the soil became contaminated by oil, gas, and related compounds. RiverLink embarked on a decade-long soil remediation program—aided by plants and underground microbes—and later launched a community design process with help from renowned landscape architecture firm, Nelson Byrd Woltz in 2018. RiverLink will continue to own and manage the park’s open space, wetlands and native plantings in partnership with the City of Asheville who will maintain the greenway. FOR MORE

Press release from RiverLink in MountainXpress

COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENT, LAND MANAGEMENT, REVITALIZATION, sustainability, wnc environment, women leaders, womens work


  • I am glad you included this article about the Karen craig Nolan park. I had a long conversation with her one time about the work they were doing to reconstitute that land and how she and her husband took turns getting up a couple of times every night over a period of months because of things. they needed to do to start purifying the land. I wish she could be alive today to see the completion of this.

    I also wanted to comment on the article about Renaming the building in honor of Saxon. Every time I read something like this, it gives me hope that, even though it’s really very, very, very, very slow progress. We are making progress toward recognizing deserving human beings.

    Thanks so very much Jean for your dedication to posting these, including what appears to be true many times: a great deal of research.

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