Asheville City Council Approves Voluntary Annexation of Future City Park Ownership
At its regular meeting on December 14, Asheville City Council approved the annexation and designation of the initial zoning district of RS-2 (Low Density Single Family Residential District) of a planned 10.88 acre property. for a municipal park in south Asheville. Guided by The Council’s objective of a well-planned and habitable community, this voluntary annexation is in accordance with the Asheville Life PlanThe vision of supporting non-residential development compatible with surrounding neighborhoods that improves opportunities for future residential infill and promotes access to well-maintained parks and open spaces for all who live in the city. The annexation is voted unanimously.
Located near several residential communities located within the city limits, the continuous woodland is bounded by the Blue Ridge Parkway, Sweeten Creek Road, the Sgro Sports Complex and a railway right-of-way. The town of Asheville bought the undeveloped Carolina Day School property for $ 1.5 million in September using money from the bonds of a 2016 referendum approved by voters (of which $ 2 million was allocated to the acquisition of park land). The purchase price is $ 200,000 lower than its Buncombe County assessed value of $ 1.74 million.
“South Asheville is one of the fastest growing areas in our city, but the community members who live there have access to fewer parks than those in the rest of the city,” said Peggy Rowe, Acting Director of Asheville Parks and Recreation. âThis exciting opportunity has been made possible by members of the Parks and Recreation team who are working to identify undeveloped land near single-family and high-density residential areas to provide parks, recreation and opportunities. more equitable and accessible working life. The parks generate essential benefits for the well-being, economy and sustainability of Asheville residents. With the transformative power to connect communities, this park will foster resilience and build civic pride.
Future property improvements may include parking and passive recreation facilities such as walking trails and picnic, bird watching and nature swimming areas. These decisions and the park designation will be determined as part of a public engagement process slated to take place in 2022. There are already moderate hiking trails that connect the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. .
In addition to the development of the park, Asheville Parks & Recreation and Carolina Day School previously announced that they are advancing a partnership to enable the use of the Sgro Athletic Complex for community recreation when school sports are not in session. The grounds of the complex adjacent to the planned park will meet the City’s needs for additional space for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and other outdoor sports. This opportunity will also allow the community to benefit from Carolina Day School’s plans to improve these fields by converting the grass surface to sod to increase durability and new lighting to extend use during the evening hours.
âWe want to be good citizens and are excited to enter into this partnership, providing space for our community for athletics and recreation,â said Stephanie Whitney, Principal of Carolina Day School. âThe Sgro Sports Complex is an exceptional sports facility, but it is underused much of the year. We want to maximize ownership for the benefit of an area of ââthe city that has been underserved by the existence of sports fields and in doing so make a significant difference in the lives of our neighbors in Asheville. Partnering with Asheville Parks & Recreation was a natural fit due to their proven track record of working with various communities across the city to deliver equitable programming. We are delighted to launch a partnership that will be so beneficial for everyone.
About Asheville Parks and Recreation
Created in 1954, the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department manages a unique collection of over 55 public parks, playgrounds and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes comprehensive recreation centers, swimming pools, Asheville Municipal Golf Course, WNC Nature Center, Riverside Cemetery, athletic fields and courts, and community centers that offer a variety of wellness, educational and cultural programs for Ashevillians of all ages. With 8 miles of paved greenways and numerous natural surface trails, its comprehensive portfolio serves as the basis for a vibrant hub for Asheville residents to connect with their neighbors and explore the natural beauty of a livable town and pedestrian.
With an annual budget of nearly $ 13.3 million, the department has 117 full-time employees and over 100 temporary / seasonal team members. Driven by the promise that Asheville is a better, safer place where everyone from infants to retirees has the opportunity to be supported, healthy and successful, Asheville Parks & Recreation was the first municipal service of nationally accredited recreation in the United States.
About Carolina Day School
Carolina Day School (CDS) is an independent, secular day school for PK-12 levels and includes Key School, a national leader in providing innovative, high-quality education for intelligent children with dyslexia. CDS is located in the heart of George Vanderbilt’s lush forest, on land donated to the school by his descendants. The school’s university campus is located at 1345 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, with the school’s Sgro sports complex located at 2351 Sweeten Creek Road in Asheville. For more visit carolinaday.org.