building on brevard's assets to create a more walkable & connected community
Matthew Fusco has worked with the City of Brevard for nearly 20 years, starting in 1999 by participating in phase one planning for the city's first greenway (pictured above). After the greenway planning, Fusco proceeded to work on corridor studies and then developed a downtown master plan and streetscape design for the city. With two decades of work completed, the benefits of this long-range approach are clearly evident in Brevard today.
How Fusco Keeps Projects Moving
"The city's proximity to Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest and all of the associated outdoor recreation in the area, as well as their small downtown core and topography were really the important characteristics and assets that drove the plan," Matthew Fusco said in looking back at the start of his work with Brevard. "All of that made Brevard conducive to being a walkable community that could support the needs of all ages. We saw early on that the market was changing due to manufacturing leaving the area, much as it has elsewhere in Western North Carolina, and that the future could focus on their natural assets. With Brevard Colelge as well as Brevard Music Center as integral parts of the community, there is a wide range of opportunities to be focused on."
Fusco developed the following long-range plans and recommendations for the City of Brevard:
- Greenway and overall conceptual plans for connecting downtown Brevard to the forest at Davidson River. Fusco also developed recommendations for a direct connection from downtown, which was later developed as Bracken Mountain
- Corridor studies for Asheville Highway between Pisgah Forest and downtown Brevard
- Downtown master plan
- Most recently, "PARTF" application support for a new park on the west side of the city.
"Whether it’s designing a new bike path traversing an urban landscape, new trails within the 400-acre Bracken preserve, or improving our public park system, we knew we needed an expert — which we found in Matt," said Daniel Cobb, the City of Brevard's planning director. "As Brevard grows, we are faced with increasing development pressures that place new demands on our public spaces. Matt encouraged us to think beyond our present-day needs and develop a long-term plan. We are now prepared to balance smart growth with the ability to preserve what makes Brevard such a special place to live."
Much has been completed. Today, residents and visitors in Brevard enjoy the greenway connection to the Davidson River and to the forest from downtown. And there is ongoing work to improve the greenway connections to the south and the west. The reconfigured traffic pattern through town as proposed by the original Downtown Master Plan has been completed, as has some block redevelopment in downtown.
"I think the pushing of the Greenways master plan as well as downtown streetscape modifications including the reconfiguration of travel lanes through town were both innovative for the time. We were able to work with the city to explore all options and think outside of the box with regard to how best to address their challenges," Matt said. "I have not been directly involved in the most recent projects, but I am proud to have helped develop the initial plans that got the ball rolling."