by Johnnie Grant
On November 1 Asheville’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department invited the public to comment on the next phase of construction at the Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center.
Phase II is projected to begin in the spring of 2013 with plans for a “sprayground” (a water installation similar to Splashville at Courthouse Plaza), a playground, and a greenways trail.
The meeting included a brief overview of the phase II project, led by Rodderick Simmons, Director of Asheville’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department, which was followed by a question-and-answer session, and breakout stations for attendees to discuss different aspects of the project with staff. Also included in the discussion was information regarding the Town Branch, Phase II multi-use greenway. Greenways are multi-use paths used for recreation and alternative transportation that typically occupy stream and river corridors.
The Town Branch greenway will consist of a 10-foot-wide paved trail extending from Depot Street in the River Arts District to the existing trail on Choctaw Street. The corridor will utilize park space behind the new Livingston Street Recreation Center, and will include off-road and sidewalk connections between Choctaw Park and McDowell Streets.
While the audience seemed excited about the pending addition to the Grant Center, many voiced their concerns about rumors that the historic Walton Street Park might be closing. Mr. Simmons asserted, “There are no plans to close Walton Street Park, nor are there any plans to sell the park. What we plan to do is to make repairs to the leak in the swimming pool, and other needed maintenance of the facility itself.”
Simmons explained that Parks & Recreation projects including therapeutic programing at Walton Street Park, and coordinating those efforts with other public programming.
As for rumors of a road being cut through the park, or the park being demolished, “The answer is – No,”
For more information contact the Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department at (828) 259-5800.