Filed under: Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Bring your A-game! The Montford Recreation Center gymnasium, closed for renovations since August, has reopened and reintroduced programming to the newly unveiled facility. The improvements include a new maple wood sports flooring system as well as competition-level fiberglass backboards with breakaway goals, wall pads and bleachers.
New wallpads and bleachers make the facility top-notch for players and spectators.
The renovations were completed in early February, and athletic groups are once again playing sports like basketball, volleyball, badminton and table tennis at the center. The climbing wall is also back in use, with a new textured paint job that better simulates a rock surface.
“We are so excited to have this popular facility reopened and the renovations are fantastic,” said Center Director Kim Kennedy.
A new floor, new baskets and backboards and LED lighting are highlights of the Montford Center’s reopened gymnasium
The gymnasium also got a new paint job and new LED lighting. The LEDs save an estimated $6,500 a year in electric costs and have a positive impact on carbon reduction equal to planting 24 football fields of forests. Additionally, the LEDs operate on a dimmer and have immediate turn-on, turn off capability. That saves even more energy, as the previous lighting took time to warm up and had to be left on all day. The LED replacement resulted in a $9,000 rebate from Duke Energy Progress – funding that will go into more sustainable upgrades in parks facilities.
The Montford Recreation Center entrances will soon be replaced to improve accessibility and bathroom renovation designs are in the works, said Project Manager Pete Wall.
The City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department has plans to make improvements to other recreation centers as funding becomes available, including the Linwood Crump Shiloh Complex and the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center.
The Montford Recreation Center will officially recognize the renovations and re-opening with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 13 at 4:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and see the work that has been done.
The climbing wall got a new coat of textured paint that better simulates rock
For information about programs at the Montford Center, go to www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.
March 4, 2014
Things are happening along the Swannanoa River. The river banks adjacent to Azalea Road and Gashes Creek road are undergoing a makeover that will not only ease one stream bank at the City of Asheville’s Recreation Park, but will also relocate a section of the Swannanoa to have less impact during high water events. Since December, heavy earth moving equipment has been visible making changes to the landscape in the area that will greatly improve multimodal park access and safety.
What is it?
Phase I of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road Improvements Project is an effort to better manage high water during flood events and create new and improved infrastructure for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists at one of the City of Asheville’s most popular park complexes.
This flood control project involves lowering a streamside multi-use field to the east of the GashesCreekBridge to give high waters a place to expand when the Swannanoa crests its banks. Another step will install breaks to slow the water down as is passes through RecreationPark. Both moves protect property and infrastructure downstream. The relocation of the stream just west of the GashesCreekBridge will straighten a curve in the river, lessening the impact it has on the steep bank below Swannanoa River Road near the intersection with Azalea Road. This will reduce stream bank erosion in that location and prevent undercutting of the roadway.
Why was this location chosen?
The SwannanoaRiver, flowing from BlackMountain to its confluence with the French BroadRiver in West Asheville, is one of Asheville’s major water corridors and can be greatly affected by heavy rain events. In past rain events, flooding on the SwannanoaRiver has affected BiltmoreVillage, Swannanoa River Road and surrounding businesses and residences.
Because of the surrounding park facilities, work can be conducted in the area with minimum disruption to businesses that line other parts of this section of the river.
The location is considered part on an ongoing flood remediation study by the Army Corps of Engineers, says the city’s Stormwater Services Manager McCray Coates.
An added benefit is the partnership with NCDOT to make improvements at the intersection of NC 81 and Azalea Road. NCDOT plans to install a traffic signal and turn lane along NC 81 which will benefit users ofthe WNCNatureCenter, RecreationPark and the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex.
How does the new infrastructure fit in?
“When we have large projects like the stream bank improvement plan, it makes sense to combine these efforts and go after some needed sidewalks, waterline and roadway improvements while you are in there,” Coates said. The City is also excited to be partnering with the NCDOT for the installation of a new traffic signal and turn lane at the intersection of NC 81 and Azalea Road.
Sidewalks, a bike path, road improvements and a one-way roadway facility down into the soccer complex will improve access to one of Asheville’s most popular park facilities. Additionally, the soccer complex will get a long-needed water line installed to serve the user of the facility.
Detail from the plans for Phase I of the Azalea Road/Lake Craig Project
How is it funded?
Phase I of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road Improvements project is financed by a mix of state and City of Asheville funds. The total project cost is $3.7 million dollars. The Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005 allocated funding for these types of projects, and covers $1,143,380 of the total project cost. The remainder is funded through the Sullivans Act funding in the amount of $2,748,002 and the city’s Water Resources Department ($371,127),
Phase I of the project is expected to be completed by December 2014. Leading up to the groundbreaking, project engineers and city staff held three community meetings to take input and inform the public about the impact of the construction and the benefits of the project’s completion. Special attention has been paid to coordinate and minimize the impact of construction during special events for the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex, the WNCNatureCenter and RecreationPark.
“We know this is an extremely popular area,” Coates said. “We don’t want this to interfere with any soccer tournaments or NatureCenter events. Summer is a big time around here.”
Asheville City Council approved Phase I of the Lake Craig/Azalea Road Improvement Project October 22, 2013.
February 5, 2014
The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department announces the next step for a public art project for 51 Biltmore.Click here to see more on this project, including examples of the finalists’ work.
CITY OF ASHEVILLE SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON PUBLIC ART: 51 Biltmore Public Art Project
The parking deck wall at 51 Biltmore awaits its new look.
Asheville, NC – The City of Asheville announces the top artist finalists for the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project to be installed on the exterior wall of the pubic parking garage next to the Aloft Hotel at 51 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. The Public Art and Cultural Commission (PACC) will host a public forum with the artists on Friday, January 24, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church located at 60 Church Street. Parking is located on the south side of the church and across the street. Enter the church at the Church Street entrance to Tuton Hall.
The following are the top artist finalists:
Artist team Alex Irvine (Santa Fe, NM) and Ian Wilkinson (Asheville, NC)
Marc Archambault (Asheville, NC)
Mike Allison (Joelton, TN)
At the public forum, the artists will be in attendance and seeking ideas, images and stories to inspire their design proposals for the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project. To learn more about each artist and to make comment, go to the City of Asheville’s website at www.ashevillenc.gov and select City Projects to see project under Central Business District. The final design proposals are expected to be revealed in April, followed by a second round of public feedback to assist the Selection Panel in choosing the final design for the public art project.
The City of Asheville recently conducted a call for artists to create a permanent public art feature for the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project. After reviewing over 150 artist applications, the Selection Panel selected the top artist finalists.
The 51 Biltmore Public Art Project Selection Panel:
David McCartney, Aloft Hotel
Sharon Trammel, Public Art and Cultural Commission
Jenny Bowen, Asheville Artist and Photographer
Elizabeth Barr, Asheville Artist Resource Center
Susie Millions, Asheville Visual Artist
Sarah Larson, 51 Biltmore Neighborhood Resident and Art Advocate
The City of Asheville Public Art Program oversees Asheville’s public art collection. The Public Art and Cultural Commission is responsible for approving the site and content of public art, and the development of an inclusive selection process that involves community feedback. Members also act as public art ambassadors by advancing the City of Asheville as an “arts destination” in cultural and economic development efforts.
The city’s public art collection includes the popular Urban Trail, a historic walking tour of downtown Asheville; along with other prominent works in the downtown area including but not limited to the Pack Fountain, Energy Loop, Deco Gecko and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The 51 Biltmore Public Art Project is part of the City’s Percent for Art Program.
For information about the 51 Biltmore Public Art Project, contact Basil Punsalan at 828-259-5552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 15, 2014
This exciting announcement comes from the WNC Nature Center:
Round up your favorite ghouls and goblins and head out to the Western North Carolina Nature Center on Saturday, October 26, 10:00 am–6:00 pm for the annual HOWL-O-WEEN event. Enjoy the season with a walk through the Creepy Crawler Cabin along with a variety of crafts and activities. Kids are invited to dress in costume and take part in the ever popular costume parade and contest at 5:00 pm.
Come climb the new Arachnid Adventure Playground at the WNC Nature Center
New at this year’s HOWL-O-WEEN is the grand opening of the Arachnid Adventure Playground, a web of climbing and play for kids and adults. The Arachnid Adventure Playground officially opens at 11:00 am with a grand opening ceremony at the playground. Along with the playground, the newly expanded red wolf exhibit will be open for the first time featuring incredible views of the world’s most endangered canine.
All activities are included with paid admission to the Nature Center. Admission: adults $8 ($6 for Asheville residents), senior citizens $7 ($5 for Asheville residents), youth ages 3-15 $4, and children age 2 and under are free.
For more information including directions and special programs visit the Nature Center website at www.wncnaturecenter.com
The WNC Nature Center features over 220 animals native to the Southern Appalachians including red wolves, otters, birds of prey, black bears, and reptiles. The Nature Center is a service of the City of Asheville and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
October 25, 2013
***UPDATE*** Click below for a video showing how this great piece was installed!
A new chapter in the 4-year renovation and updating of the U.S. Cellular Center begins this week with the installation of a new terrazzo floor in the lobby of the Thomas Wolfe Theater.
The public artwork, designed by artist Joan Weissman, will be a vibrant addition to the U.S. Cellular Center, enhancing the experience for visitors while preserving the architectural feel of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and Asheville’s Art Deco style.
Artist Joan Weissman's design for the terrazzo floor at the U.S. Cellular Center
“The goal was to respect and refer to the site’s structural and decorative details, while adding a fresh and dramatic new focal point,” Weissman says.
Weissman was selected from a pool of 50 artists who responded to the City of Asheville’s call for artists in April. The call for artists was open to artists both local and national and who had experience in terrazzo floor design. Three finalists were selected, and a panel consisting of local artists and representatives from the City of Asheville and the Public Art and Culture Commission brought its recommendation before the full Commission for approval.
Noted for her rug designs, Weissman also creates designs for terrazzo floors, tapestries and fabrics. Her work has been featured in Interior Design, Hali, Western Interiors, Paris Home and Veranda. Her floor designs can be found at the University of New Mexico Center for the Arts and in the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion.
Like Weissman’s design, the floor installation itself incorporates a new vision with a historical component: Asheville Tile, the company performing the installation, represents three generations of work in the city. Owner Ronnie Smith’s father Albert laid the original lobby floor when the Civic Center was constructed in 1974, and Smith’s grandfather installed the mosaic on the front of Asheville City Hall.
“It’s really a neat thing to see this kind of family tradition being carried out in person,” says U.S. Cellular Center General Manager, Chris Corl. The installation, Corl says, is being recorded in the form of a time-lapse video that will be posted online when the project is complete in mid-September.
The City of Asheville remains dedicated to providing public art that enhances and confirms the city’s artistic culture and creative economy.
“This public art project perfectly illustrates how art creates economic opportunity that ripples through the community, providing opportunities for local companies and craftspeople,” said Debbie Ivester, assistant director of the City of Asheville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.
The installation of the U.S. Cellular Center’s terrazzo floor is part of an ongoing $12 million renovation of the facility. Needed roof repairs, restroom updates, box office redesign and other enhancements have already been completed. Funding for the renovations comes from the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, the Tourism Development Authority and U.S. Cellular. Ongoing projects include the expansion of convention and box seating spaces and the exterior lobby entrance. The enhancements are a large part of attracting new business and events like the SoCon Basketball Championships to Asheville.
More from the coablog:
U.S. Cellular Center prepares for audience of conferences and trade shows
October 1, 2013
Cool announcement for artisits from the City of Asheville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department:
The City of Asheville is seeking to commission a qualified artist or team of artists to create a permanent exterior public art feature above the parking garage exit at the north side of the Aloft Hotel on Aston Street. The Aloft Hotel at 51 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville is a visible landmark in the skyline, set apart by its contemporary architecture and vibrant color scheme. 51 Biltmore is the shared address of the City of Asheville’s new parking complex which is the site for the public artwork. The 51 Biltmore Public Art Project is intended to enhance the sense of local identity in downtown Asheville, as well as compliment the architecture of the Aloft Hotel and is part of the City’s Percent for Art mandate.
This is a nationwide call with preference given to all qualified local artists/teams of artists who currently live in North Carolina in Buncombe, Yancey, McDowell, Rutherford, Polk, Henderson, Madison, Haywood, Transylvania, Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Clay and Cherokee counties (proof of residency will be required).
Artists’ qualifications will be accepted electronically through October 30, 2013 at CallforEntry.org, also known as CaFÉ™. Project specifications and instructions on how to apply are located at www.callforentry.org. For information about the call for artists, contact Basil Punsalan at 828-259-5552 or email@example.com.
The City of Asheville Public Art Program oversees Asheville’s public art collection with assistance of the Public Art & Cultural Commission. The collection includes the popular Urban Trail, a historic walking tour of downtown Asheville; along with other prominent works in the downtown area including but not limited to the Pack Fountain, Energy Loop, Deco Gecko and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
Download the RFQ.
September 18, 2013
September 6, 2013
This summer’s rainfall certainly put Asheville on the charts, making it the second-wettest city in the U.S., according to the National Climactic Data Center. And the rainfall was not without its costs. Landslides, sinkholes and flooding were all impacts of the high volume of rain.
From time to time, the City of Asheville experiences extraordinary weather events, be they rain, wind or snow, and that’s when city crews from Public Works, Streets and Water Resources work their hardest to restore the City of Asheville back to normal.
To keep you informed of where work is happening and how it is progress, we’ve included a “Storm Cleanup” button on the front page of the City of Asheville web page, ashevillenc.gov. The button takes you to a dedicated page with locations and updated information about storm damage remediation.
In addition, the page offers important numbers you can use to report potential hazards and storm damage.
The City of Asheville offers several tools you can use to report or find out about important weather related events in your community, including the Citizens Alert Information tool, the Asheville App and the Storm Cleanup page.
August 27, 2013
The latest tools in the City of Asheville’s GIS tool belt are lighter than air and float at 1,000 feet: Weather balloons outfitted with digital cameras are being used in the ongoing project by the IT Services Department and the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department to confirm and map the location of graves and plots at the city’s historic Riverside Cemetery.
The balloons provide aerial pictures of the cemetery grounds, which can then be matched with cemetery records and on-the-ground surveying of markers and landmarks. Together, all of this information provides an accurate survey of the grounds, which is being plugged into an interactive GIS map. Riverside Cemetery is managed by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department and, alongside good stewardship, the mapping allows the city to know how many and where plots are available for sale on the grounds.
See more: Riverside Cemetery gets the GIS treatment.
Recently, a class of third graders from Isaac Dickson Elementary School visited Riverside Cemetery to see how the balloons work and learn about mapping. The students got to see how pocket cameras were rigged with harnesses made from string and repurposed two-liter soda bottles so that they would remain pointed down and resist spinning, and even got a chance to “pilot” the balloons by holding the lines.
Working with Adam Griffith, a research scientist with Western Carolina University and the nonprofit group The Public Laboratory, the team launched two weather balloons, spooling out 1,000 feet of line to keep them from floating into near-space altitudes (where differences in pressure would cause them to pop). Each balloon carried a pocket digital camera set to take pictures every four seconds. Using this relatively inexpensive technique, the team captures photos within a 1/10-mile radius.
GIS Analyst Scott Barnwell says the technique could be used for other areas around the city as well as to fill in information gaps. Aerial images are taken regularly by the N.C. Geographic Information Coordinating Council (NCGICC) but the latest information is from 2010, and another fly-over isn’t planned until 2015. The balloons can provide images of changes and new construction in the ensuing five years, Barnwell says. And the images taken from the balloons show higher detail than existing satellite imagery.
As for the Riverside Cemetery survey, work mapping the graves is nearing an end. “We’re about 95 percent there,” Barnwell says. “We’re just working on that last five percent now.”
March 18, 2013
The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center at 285 Livingston Street has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The designation is the highest level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council in its recognition of building design and construction practices that reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact.
“This certification is great news,” said project manager Al Koph from the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. “We’ve worked hard to make this project a flagship for the city and an example of what can be achieved in sustainable building.”
Dedicated in October 2011, phase one of the recreation center was the first City of Asheville facility built since Asheville City Council’s 2007 direction that all new municipal construction achieve at least gold LEED certification. Council includes among its strategic goals that Asheville be a southeastern leader in sustainability.
Throughout the project’s first phase, project architect Jane Mathews, acting as the LEED certification administrator and working with her design team, submitted qualifying elements to the USGBC and confirmed that it was on track. Thanks to features like use of natural light and water-efficient fixtures, the project cleared the bar for gold certification and then some.
“The City of Asheville is to be commended for showing strong leadership in promoting a very high level of sustainable design for its new facilities,” Mathews said. “We were honored to assist the City in fulfilling this commitment and to furthering its environmental stewardship by providing a quality, affordable and sustainable new center for Asheville and its citizens.”
Mathews presented the LEED Platinum certificate to Asheville City Council at its December 11 meeting.
The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center is probably most easily recognized by its roof, the shape of which channels rainwater into sediment reducing ponds and cisterns as well as the roof gardens. But the center also employs energy-efficient windows, geothermal temperature regulation and energy conserving insulation. In rating buildings for certification, the USGBC also factors in how far materials have to travel to get on site and the fact that most of the materials removed for the building were recycled.
Phase one of the center houses an auditorium, classrooms and office space. Phase two, which is currently in the planning stage, will include a gymnasium, a spray ground, playground, and a section of the Town Branch Greenway.
Click here for more information about the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center or any of the City of Asheville recreation centers.
Click here for more about the City of Asheville’s sustainability initiative.
December 18, 2012