During its Feb. 28 meeting, Mayor Esther Manheimer awarded a plaque to Steve Mitchell of the Malvern Hills neighborhood as Asheville’s Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year.
This is the first year for the award. Initiated by the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, the award is designed to recognize and honor a city resident who has demonstrated a significant and positive contribution toward a neighborhood association and/or commitment to strengthening city neighborhoods through volunteer time, talents and service.
Elaine Poovey, Chairman of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, introduced Mr. Mitchell to City Council at the beginning of the meeting, then the Mayor presented the award.
Mr. Malvern Hills
In the eyes of his neighbors, Steve Mitchell is “Mr. Malvern Hills.” Since 1968, Steve Mitchell has been a supporter of organized neighborhoods. When he and his family moved to Wilshire Park in West Asheville, he helped revitalize the Wilshire Park Community Club and served as its president for 8 years. Wilshire Park is where he started his focus on making neighborhoods safer by maintaining and enhancing the appearance of shared space and enlisting his neighbors to take better care of their properties and the streets around them.
Eventually Mr. Mitchell got involved with another neighborhood — his current home of Malvern Hills — and its Community Club. When he and his family moved to Malvern Hills in 2003, he re-energized the board of directors and engaged his neighbors in forming a corps of “street captains” who delivered community news and acted as resource for established and new residents.
Since that time je has taken a lead in solving problems and addressing issues. Through his efforts, the neighborhood’s relationship with the City of Asheville and staff has gotten stronger, which resulted in improved conditions for the residents. Good working relationships with other agencies, like NCDOT, has resulted in improvements in access to the neighborhood — like a traffic signal that was installed on Patton Avenue to make it easier to turn left into Malvern Hills.
A major focus for Mr. Mitchell has been to improve the shared public space in the neighborhood. The traffic islands and tree lawns in Malvern Hills have been groomed and planted by volunteers who have responded to Steve’s leadership and vision for the community.
By organizing picnics and other get-togethers and helping to produce and deliver newsletters, Steve has also strengthen the connections of residents to each other and helped build the fabric of Malvern Hills Community Club. Because of all this work and care, his neighbors consider him “Mr. Malvern Hills” and were eager to nominate him for the City’s first Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year Award. His many accomplishments have touched the lives of his neighbors and members of this community and made life better for those who know and love him and future residents of Malvern Hills and the wider community.
About the Neighborhood Advisory Committee
The goal of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee is to facilitate communication and cooperation between neighborhoods, City staff, boards, commissions and City Council. The committee holds a public meeting in each of the City’s five geographic areas to identify issues affecting residents, receive neighborhood feedback, connect City staff with neighborhood organizations and inform neighborhoods of developments in their area. For more information, visit the City of Asheville Neighborhood Advisory Committee webpage.
For more information about this award and how to nominate your neighborhood volunteer, contact Ashley Traynum-Carson, City of Asheville Neighborhood Coordinator, at 828-259-5506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.