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Open Space Bond Program Application Window Now Open

Buncombe County’s Open Space Bond's first project funding application window for Passive Recreation Lands is now open. The project application and supporting guidelines are posted on on the Buncombe County Grants Webpage. The application window will remain open until March 31, 2024. View the document portion at the end of this article to download a copy of the application and guidelines.

The Passive Recreation Lands component of the Bond will fund projects that provide publicly-accessible land, outdoor space, waterbodies, and corridors where passive recreational activities – such as hiking, birding, bicycling, and wildlife viewing - place minimal stress on a site’s resources in a designated area. These lands provide ecosystem services and are highly compatible with natural resource protection.  

The application consists of a questionnaire including the following items: 

a) Project Overview 

b) Funding Request & Match 

c) Project Summary 

d) Acquisition/Improvements Narrative & Supporting Documentation 

e) Alignment with Evaluation Criteria 

f) Applicant Experience 

g) Budget 

h) Additional Documentation 

Passive Recreation Lands projects must meet the following qualifying criteria to be eligible for Bond funds: 

  • Project funds must be allocated within the 7-year timeline of the Bond. 
  • The Project must be geographically located within Buncombe County. 
  • The Project must include a plan for long-term management and maintenance. 

If a proposed project meets this set of qualifying criteria, it is moved to a weighted criteria process where a range of factors are considered.  

The weighted criteria include:  

  • Conservation and Environmental Impact (20%)  
  • Feasibility (20%) 
  • Accessibility (15%) 
  • Equity (15%) 
  • Long-Term Management and Maintenance (10%) 
  • Costs and Leveraged Funding (10%) 
  • Alignment with County Plan/Needs/Opportunity/Priority (5%) 
  • Safety (5%)  

Applicants will be able to get support from Open Space Bond Project Manager Jill Carter through both an applicant webinar in February 2024 and in 1:1 consultations. Sign up for additional information and updates here. Learn more the evaluation criteria here. 

In 2022, Buncombe voters approved a $30 million General Obligation bond to fund projects that conserve open space, build greenways, and expand passive recreation opportunities. The goals at the heart of the Open Space Bond are to preserve the natural beauty of Buncombe County, increase the quality of life for its residents, and improve access to passive recreational activities in the area. 

For any questions or to schedule a one-on-one consultation, email Open Space Bond Project Manager Jill Carter at 

Table: News Item Documents
File NameSizeTypeDate & Time Added
Open Space Bond PRL Application and Guidelines 278 KB 01/16/2024 2:48 PM

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Updated Jan 22, 2024 10:44 AM
Published Dec 12, 2023 11:42 AM

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