Through its ARP funds and through careful project selection, Brevard will fix its biggest area of need — stormwater — while also furthering the city’s long-term strategic goals.
City of Brevard
Funds Received: $2.52 million
The City of Brevard is a top tourist destination in western North Carolina, but having under 8,000 fulltime residents, the city’s American Rescue Plan distribution is relatively small. Their plan, then, was to make each dollar go as far as possible. They’ll accomplish that through infrastructure.
“For a small municipality, investing $2.5 million into infrastructure is a very big deal,” said Mayor Maureen Copelof. “These investments will last for decades.”
Brevard’s foremost investment will be into stormwater. Setting aside $700,000 of ARP funds towards that category, the city is addressing areas with known stormwater issues, including some key commercial and recreational locations. Each of those areas was selected strategically, not only due to their importance to the community, but also because the city can coordinate its ARP projects with additional city-led initiatives.
For example, one area receiving stormwater improvement will be Times Arcade Alley, a street that hosts restaurants, shops and various businesses, and that is regularly stricken with stormwater problems. It is also an area that needs certain aesthetic improvements. Brevard’s plan is to use ARP funds to fix the stormwater and, once the area is dug into, then use general funds to improve paving, add green space and bury utility lines. The city is using the same approach towards stormwater improvements on Railroad Avenue. With ARP funds, Brevard will be installing catch basis; and once dug into, Brevard will be installing a pedestrian greenway with general funds. “We’re using a combination of funds to do several things at the same time,” said Mayor Copelof.
Brevard’s other two ARP expenses will also go towards critical infrastructure: the repairing of the 55-year-old Railroad Avenue Bridge, and the expansion of residential waterlines to serve the town’s growth.
“(ARP) is going to allow us to do projects that would be otherwise beyond the scope of our being able to do,” said Mayor Copelof. “It’s really going to allow us to leverage our funds.”
Focus on Need: Stormwater repairs are not a peripheral agenda item for Brevard. Rather, it’s an absolute necessity, both for the city’s residents and businesses. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, and as reported by Blue Ridge Public Radio, roughly 413 inches of rain fell in Transylvania County from January 2017 to December 2021, making it the wettest county in the state for that period. “If it there’s a heavy rain, you’re walking through a couple of inches of water in Times Arcade Alley,” said Mayor Copelof. Through ARP, that problem will be put to rest.
Two Birds, One Stone: To get the most our of their funding, Brevard tied in ARP uses with other long-term strategic plans. While digging to complete its stormwater repairs, the city will provide to residents new greenspaces, new greenways and other amenities.