Everyone is invited to attend an open house about planned Pritchard Park improvements from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Asheville Housing Authority boardroom, 165 S. French Broad Ave.
The City of Asheville is working to resume sustainable improvements to Pritchard Park, designed to contribute to a safe and inviting urban public space. The improvements reflect community input, best practices in urban park management and input from public safety experts. The project is estimated to take approximately 15 weeks. Portions of the park will need to be closed at times but it will not be closed in its entirety during the course of the project.
This work is intended to address issues that have developed in the park over time related to heavy use, including tree and plant health, functionality of seating areas and programmed spaces, attractiveness of landscaping, and improved visibility for safety.
Informational presentations were made to Downtown Asheville Residential Neighbors, Asheville Downtown Association’s Issues Committee, Tree Commission, Parks & Recreation Board and Downtown Commission. At City Council’s request for more community engagement on the project, staff is holding this latest information-sharing open house.
The upgrades started in the fall of 2015 with the thinning of trees and shrubbery by a certified arborist and surveying of the park for more work to come. The survey identified soil compaction from heavy use as a factor in tree and landscape health. The park is small and often draws large crowds. Through an intentional landscape design, efforts have been made to accommodate natural spillover from paved areas while avoiding unintended consequences, such as soil compaction, which creates a stressful environment for trees.
This phase of the project will include installation of irrigation, new lighting, protective decorative fencing around landscaped beds and new signage. New features will include additional seating around the amphitheater area (benches and an ornamental rock) and a year-around drinking fountain. Plants chosen for the landscaping will be good matches for an urban environment. Ornamental LED lights will provide safe lighting during the evening and after the park closes.
Pritchard Park’s water feature was repaired in 2015 and will remain in place.
For more information, contact Asheville Parks & Recreation Director Roderick Simmons at email@example.com or 828-259-5808.