Contributed by Camille Nevarez-Hernandez
Imagine a space where community members can gather for business, attend cultural events like concerts and cookouts, and even soak in a neighborhood spa. That’s the vision of Blue Note Junction, a revolutionary, multi-phase project launched by Urban Peace Gardens founders DeWayne Burton and Safi Martin.
Named in honor of EW Pearson (aka the “Black Mayor of West Asheville”) and his store, night club, and community center that served as a building block of the Burton Street Community, Blue Note Junction aims to promote health, wellness, and economic security for the Affrilachian community in Asheville and beyond.
Currently in its first phase, the organizers have launched a capital campaign to raise $460,000 to secure the land through a mix of grant funding, investments, and individual contributions. As of publishing time, the campaign has raised ~$130,000 and the crowdfunding will run through Fri., June 10.
Here’s all that’s planned for the space:
- A buy-local retail market that would feature BIPOC artists + community makers.
- A commercial kitchen to support the culinary arts by way of healthy cooking classes and space rental for local chefs + aspiring food entrepreneurs.
- A neighborhood spa that will include hot tubs, an outdoor sauna, and massage therapy.
- Greenhouse and gardens that will serve as a teaching space + food source.
- A new + improved headquarters for Hood Huggers International.
- A community co-working space with various incubation + mentorship programs.
- A black-box and multi-use theater space, plus classrooms and meeting rooms.
- An outdoor venue with a stage + performance area.
What to expect next:
Once fundraising is complete, phase two will include construction, extensive community engagement, securing partnerships with local businesses + other key partners, and finally, a soft opening. Phase three will include a grand opening, plus the development of a long-term strategic plan.
Overall, the project is estimated at ~$5 million dollars and is aiming for completion at the end of 2026.