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Resurrecting recreation at RiverLink’s new Gateway Park

RiverLink will bring an historical park back to life with a new public green space along the French Broad River for cyclists, runners, and pedestrians.

Postcard of Riverside Park in the early 1900s

Recreation returns to riverside.

Postcard by Valentine & Sons Publishing Co., AD466, Buncombe County Special Collections

Back in the early 1900s, the land now on Riverside Drive at the Pearson Bridge was called Riverside Park. It boasted a carousel, dance hall, and baseball diamond; visitors could take trolleys from downtown and West Asheville and gather in boats to watch films on an outdoor screen. Then, in 1916, it was destroyed by a flood. But now, RiverLink’s new Gateway Park will reinhabit the space.

After years of the land’s neglect, the park will soon provide pathways, native flora, and a carousel-inspired pavilion, becoming a connection between the RAD greenway and the Woodfin Greenway Blueway expansion — and a connection between our past and our present.

A rendering and concepts for the new gateway park

Conservation is at the core of the concept.

Graphic by RiverLink

Gateway Park will be built on land that was donated to RiverLink back in 2011 by OM Sanctuary. The public will be able to access 1.3 acres of the 2-acre property, and the remaining green space will be preserved to promote river health and flood resilience.

Stay tuned for the park’s revival.

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