Protecting natural resources and increasing recreational opportunities is at the heart of the $30 million Open Space Bond voters overwhelmingly approved last year. Project Manager Jill Carter is helping make those goals a reality by creating a long-range, community-inclusive plan. “Jill’s experience with finance, project management, and her ability to connect with our residents made her stand out from other applicants. She has proven that she has excellent organizational skills and the ability to keep us all moving in the right direction,” notes Assistant County Manager Sybil Tate. “The benefits of having open space available for our community is invaluable, not only does it provide recreational opportunities, but it also provides environmental services such as improving water quality, protecting biodiversity, and preserving high-quality soils that are necessary to feed our community.”
The Open Space Bond also aligns with County Commissioners’ goal of preserving 20% of the County’s land by 2030, and it’s a mission Jill takes to heart. “As a passionate mountain biker, hiker, and kayaker, these mountains have really become the perfect place for me. As I’ve been building my life in the area, I’ve felt a strong pull to put my skills and experience to work serving this community,” explains Jill, who brings 8 years of project management experience to the County. Her first steps are creating selection criteria for conservation easements, greenways, and passive recreation areas while making sure there are ways for the community to be involved every step of the way. “We want to design a bond project that puts the public voice at the center right from the start – so we’ve been working hard to build in plenty of opportunities for people to learn about the bonds, understand the open space benefits for the community, and express their opinion,” explains Jill.
To that end, the County will have a Public Input page that will feature feedback opportunities, timelines, archives of past meetings, and all things related to the Open Space Bond. “We’re making sure we keep the public up to date on what kinds of projects these bonds will fund, progress in the application process, how the projects will be selected, and the ongoing progress of the projects themselves. But just as important – we want to make sure that the public’s voice is heard in how this money is being spent,” exclaims Jill.
While this will be a years-long process, the County has published an interactive and informative website where you can get up-to-date information, subscribe to emails, and learn more about the Open Space Bonds. Additionally, you will have opportunities to learn more about attending meetings in person or virtually and other ways to make your voice a part of the Open Space Bond process. To learn more, visit our Public Input page. We look forward to working with you as we continue to make Buncombe County an amazing place to live, work, play, and visit. And to learn more about Buncombe County’s conservation efforts, view our interactive StoryMaps here.
Jill Carter’s professional biography
Before joining Buncombe County, Jill built a career in project management and public finance in the international economic development space. She has had the opportunity to lead economic and community development-focused projects for several nonprofits, a private development finance firm, and The World Bank. Jill received a BA in Political Science from George Mason University and an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University.
Greenways Criteria Informational Public Meeting
Interested in learning more about the greenways bond, greenways criteria, and timelines for new projects? Join us for a Greenways Criteria Development public meeting on March 15, 2023 at Community High School in Swannanoa. More information.