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Asheville Parks and Recreation releases the Recreate Asheville draft plan

Now, more than a year after the initiative was launched, community feedback on the Recreate Asheville plan is needed one last time.

martin luther king jr park asheville nc

Recreate Asheville is in its final stages.

Photo by AVLtoday

Our local green spaces offer sanctuary — communion with nature, lively fellowship with friends, exercise, activity, fresh air. But with throngs of Ashevillians wandering their fields and footpaths every day, these parks need some support. Thus, the development of Recreate Asheville.

The plan, designed by Asheville Parks and Recreation (APR), is intended to guide the park system’s strategies, priorities, and projects for the next 10 years. And after more than a year of eliciting feedback and conducting research, APR has released the draft plan. This is the last step before the final plan is presented to the Asheville City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 27, so now’s the time to voice your park opinions.

Panoptic priorities

The vision includes five focus areas:

  • Steward and maintain parks for all
  • Access and connectivity
  • Community health and wellness
  • Gathering and placemaking
  • Resilient natural environment

To guide implementation, these high-level goals are tied to specific action items (e.g. under “resilient natural environment” is “preserve and enhance the city’s tree canopy”).
The plan divides the city into equity investment zones, indicating support structures like healthcare access and giving investment priority to areas that have less support.

To align investments with the community’s overall vision, the plan also outlines a set of questions to evaluate future projects — like, “Does it serve vulnerable residents?” and “Can it help meet climate justice goals?”

Upcoming undertakings

Planned projects are divided into four phases, from short-term (one to four years) to future (20+ years). Phase one includes six major existing park upgrades or redevelopments, two center redevelopments, a new pickleball complex and aquatic facility, and the creation of Sweeten Creek Road Park.

Programming priorities include expanding aquatic and youth camp programming as well as cultural enrichment.

Well, did they hit it out of the park? There’s a lot more in store, so check out the full plan or peruse the presentation — then let APR know your thoughts by Sunday, July 7.

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