Today’s round of questions, my smart-aleck replies and the real answers:
Question: Recently, I was at a youth street hockey league event at Carrier Park. It was a hot sunny day, and along with other parents, we watched 10-year-olds playing hockey. Everyone was in the sun and hot and sweaty, parents and players. Someone remarked how it would be nice if the hockey rink and stands were covered by a roof, which would allow play in all weather. One of the parents stated she and one of the coaches had contacted the Asheville Parks & Recreation Department recently about installing such a roof. They said they were told by someone at Parks and Rec that no new improvements were being made or planned, and the only expenditures were for maintenance. The parent said they were told this was because Parks and Rec’s budget was being spent on McCormick Field improvements. Could you use your expert sleuthing to find out if the following are true: 1. Asheville’s commitment to the McCormick Field improvements are coming from the Parks and Rec budget. 2. No new improvements to city parks are planned or taking place due to lack of funds after the commitment was made to improve McCormick Field. 3. Have any Parks and Rec planned improvements been canceled or delayed due to funding issues?
My answer: I see we have a slippery definition of “expert sleuthing” here, but I can ask the city about all of this.
Real answer: City spokesperson Kim Miller checked in with the city’s Parks & Recreation Department and said they “appreciate the opportunity to clear up some misinformation in the community.”
As Mountain Xpress reported in July, “In an effort to keep the Tourists in Asheville, the city pledged $20 million over the next 20 years, while the county agreed to pay $5 million over the same period.” The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority approved nearly $23 million toward the stadium renovations over 20 years.
But the city’s pledge does not leave Parks & Rec bereft of funding. In fact, Miller noted that, “McCormick Field operations and capital projects are not part of Asheville Parks & Rec’s budget.
“In 2022, Asheville Municipal Golf Course, Aston Park Tennis Center, McCormick Field, and WNC Nature Center were placed in the City of Asheville’s new Community and Regional Entertainment Facilities department, enabling (Parks & Rec) to focus on neighborhood-level park services and recreation programs,” Miller said.
Parks & Rec has several major community investment projects in progress, Miller said, including:
- Trail network expansion at Richmond Hill Park
- New playgrounds at Carrier, W.T. Weaver, and Murphy-Oakley parks and Burton Street Community Center, marking 11 completely rebuilt playgrounds since 2019.
- Addition of a six-lane track at Memorial Stadium, and walking trail, trike track, and playground enhancements at Mountainside Park.
- Renovation of basketball courts at Roger Farmer Park to include a multi-sport court with lines for basketball and futsal (soccer played on a smaller court) as well as access for other recreational activities such as roller skating.
- Rebuilt basketball courts, new hard-surface loop and multi-use field, and new playground at Walton Street Park.
Miller said Parks & Rec also has recently completed several projects, including the Asheville Skatepark, Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center, and dual-lining of all tennis courts for shared pickleball play. Also, smaller projects and maintenance take place regularly at the department’s more than 65 public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces.
The system also includes greenways, recreation centers, swimming pools, Riverside Cemetery, sports fields and courts, and community centers, Miller noted.
“As stewards of the city’s public parkland for decades, Asheville Parks & Recreation has a long-term project schedule over several fiscal budget cycles,” Miller said. “This schedule has not been impacted by McCormick Field discussions.”
Miller also noted that my reader and other Asheville residents are encouraged to give their input on Parks & Rec needs and projects at RecreateAsheville.com.
Question: Do you know what is being built next to Biscuithead on Hendersonville Road? I hope it’s something yummy!
My answer: Well, this is awkward, unless you consider cats and dogs yummy.
Real answer: Permits on file with the city of Asheville show this will be a 3,856-square-foot veterinary clinic called Partners Animal Hospital Asheville. The property, located at 1990 Hendersonville Road, is indeed next to Biscuithead, the crazy popular all-day breakfast spot.
Wendy Tanneberger, director of operations at Partners Animal Hospital in Mount Prospect, Ill., said the Asheville operation will be a partnership between two veterinarians there.
They expect to have the Asheville office open next spring, Tanneberger said. The clinic will initially have five employees, but they hope to grow the operation.
Asheville has a “strong need” for vets, Tanneberger said, and the Hendersonville Road location offers great exposure, she said.
Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. Got a question? Send it to John Boyle at email@example.com or 828-337-0941. To show your support for this vital public service go to avlwatchdog.org/donate.