Parks and Recreation

APRCA Overview Directors Message
  Vision & Master Plan
Parks Overview Parks & Facilities
  Amenities & Features
  Planning & Development
Recreation Overview Athletics
  Outdoor Recreation
  Recreation Centers
  Recreation Programs
Cultural Arts Overview Public Art & Urban Trail
  Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab
  smART Space
  Cultural Development
  Street Performers
  WNC Nature Center
 APRCA Index  


                    Picnic Shelter Reservations     



Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts City Council-Appointed Boards & Commissions 

News & Current Events

Sign up to receive the Asheville Parks & Recreation E-Newsletter here.

Shiloh Job Fair
The Shiloh Workshop and Job Fair scheduled in April have been postponed due to center renovations.  The new date is TBD.

Facebook Fan Photo Contest: 

It’s Time to update our cover photo! 

Share your best photo of you or your family in one of our parks or facilities, and your picture may be our next cover photo for the month.

The Fan Photo that is selected wins the cover spot and an Asheville Parks and Recreation goodie bag.

Post your pic in comments between April 16 and April 30. The winning photo will be our Photo of the Month for May.

Click here for details.


Summer Camp 2014

This summer parents can keep kids physically active and mentally engaged by signing them up for any of Asheville Parks & Recreation summer camps! We offer youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, play sports, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime. 

We have camps for all ages and interests, and offer a wide variety ranging from traditional camps, outdoor adventures, sports camps ,and specialty camps! 

Download the Summer Camp 2014 brochure here.

Click here to sign up now!




Digital Photography 101

Thursday Evenings 6pm-7pm April 24th– May 22nd
at the West Asheville Community Center, 970 Haywood Rd.

Asheville Parks and Recreation-Therapeutic Recreation Program announces a new course in digital photography.  Designed for teaching new photography skills and having fun!  Individuals will be using digital cameras to complete a photography project.

Participants ages 12 and older.
Fees: $50 per person Asheville City Residents receive a $10 discount.     
Register at the Center between April 1st– 20th             

For Additional Information: Contact Erika at 828-259-5483 or



Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games & The Silver Arts Showcase
May 13-June 3, 2014

The 2014 Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games are fast approaching! Competitors from around the area will gather for a few unforgettable weeks of athleticism and fun. Spend your morning shaking it up on the shuffleboard court, and your afternoon hitting the track. Pummel your peers in racquetball and spend the afternoon watching your buddies in a game of Pickleball. The possibilities are endless, and even if you don't bring home a medal, the memories are all yours to keep.

Are you the more artistic type?  The Silver Arts Showcase, a major component of the Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games, is the perfect time for you to debut your latest masterpiece or hit the stage with your musical skills. 

Click below for more information for these exciting events!

Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games 2014 Application and Information

Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games 2014 Schedule

Silver Arts Showcase 2014 Application and Information

Questions?  Contact Dee Black at 828-259-5809 or\

Getting Back 2 Basics 
New Year, New You, Now let’s Work!
New workout accessories and training techniques with fancy names may have their place, but sometimes the basics deliver the biggest results.
Revisit the basic steps to starting a workout plan and take your fitness to new heights with us!
This 10 week fitness program involves various types of cardio, zumba, and weight exercises.
Classes begin on February 3rd and will be every Monday from 6-7:30 though March 7th at the Burton Street Community Center, 134 Burton Street.

Pre-registration is required.  For more information contact Shateisha Lenoir at 828-254-1942 or

FITKids Asheville Spring 2014:

A new program at Stephens-Lee Recreation Center designed for children ages 6 to 11!
This program is designed to show children that leading an active lifestyle is fun!   Participants will play active games, be introduced to different sports, and explore the active side of our city with different field trips.  Each meeting will focus on a different type of activity exercise recommended for youth:  Cardio, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening.  We’ve also partnered with Earth Fare to talk about healthy food choices.  There are three 4-week programs that meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.  The cost is only $10 per child per 4-week session.  Sign up for one or all three!   

Session 1: February 11th – March 6th
Session 2: March 18th – April 10th

For more information, call the Stephens-Lee Center at (828) 350-2058.  


Register for FITKids here.

Help Wanted: Officials for Adult Softball Leagues

Asheville Parks and Recreation is looking for officials for Summer and Fall adult softball games.
You must be 18 years of age or older, but no experience is necessary – training is provided.
Summer season is March through August and Fall season is August through November. 
Pay is $21/game for new officials and $25/game for returning officials.

Interested? Attend our info meeting on February 16th at 2 p.m. at the Asheville Recreation office located at 72 Gashes Creek Road.

For more information, call Bryan Fish at (828) 251-4026.



Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts is offering a variety of community activities and programs at the Linwood Crump - Shiloh Complex, located at 121 Shiloh Road.  Registration ongoing.  Photo ID required for center access after 5:30pm.  For more information click here.

  • Afternoon Adventures Program
  • Teen Club Program
  • Teen Hip Hop Dance Club
  • Adult Open Gym
  • Busy Hands Senior Club
  • Senior Chair Exercise and Council on Aging Senior Meal
  • Diabetic Prevention Program
  • Health and Wellness Programs
  • Family Zumba Fitness
  • Walk and Tone
  • Healthy Living Program
  • Adult Fitness Class

New public art installation and renovation at U.S. Cellular Center

A new chapter in the 4-year renovation and updating of the U.S. Cellular Center begins this week with the installation of a new terrazzo floor in the lobby of the Thomas Wolfe Theater. 

The public artwork, designed by artist Joan Weissman, will be a vibrant addition to the U.S. Cellular Center, enhancing the experience for visitors while preserving the architectural feel of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and Asheville’s Art Deco style.

“The goal was to respect and refer to the site’s structural and decorative details, while adding a fresh and dramatic new focal point,” Weissman says.

Weissman was selected from a pool of 50 artists who responded to the City of Asheville’s call for artists in April. The call for artists was open to artists both local and national and who had experience in terrazzo floor design. Three finalists were selected, and a panel consisting of local artists and representatives from the City of Asheville and the Public Art and Culture Commission brought its recommendation before the full Commission for approval.
Read the complete blog here:

Riverside Cemetery gets the GIS treatment and a new website!

Riverside Cemetery website here
Riverside Cemetery city webpage here
Article/Blog about the Riverside Cemetery GIS

The City of Asheville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department and IT Services are partnering to compile an entire online inventory of the Riverside gravesites that can be accessed via computer or even on a smart phone.

Riverside Cemetery is best known to many as the resting place of author and Asheville native Thomas Wolfe as well as other prominent local historical figures like Zebulon Vance, but another 14 to 15 thousand people have been buried on the 87 acre site in
the past century and a half. The City of Asheville is currently piecing together an intricate puzzle of archival material to pinpoint and identify every grave and build an interactive GIS map of Riverside Cemetery. 


is a 180-acre park located in West Asheville on Richmond Hill Dr. A natural wooded park with views of the French Broad River, it offers nature trails for dog walking, hiking, trail running and mountain biking.

Richmond Hill also hosts a world class disc golf course. The 18 hole course, with its heavily wooded fairways and elevation change in abundance, will challenge even the best player’s game… while still allowing novice players the ability to have a great time playing disc golf in the woods.

Directions to the park may be found here.

French Broad River Park and Greenway

One of Asheville's most beautiful parks and greenways, the park meanders alongside the tranquil French Broad River and features a vast area of open green space with old trees, a wildflower garden, a paved trail, a gazebo, picnic tables and grills, an observation deck, and a small playground. The Dog Park features a one acre fenced and wood chipped yard for off-lease exercising and socializing your dog. Follow the links to our pet friendly facilities.

French Broad RIver Greenway
French Broad River Park / Dog Park

Azalea Park / Dog Park


City Services and Weather Update Links: 

City of Asheville Home Page
City of Asheville Facebook Page
City of Asheville Twitter

Asheville Parks and Greenways Foundation
Friends of the Nature Center 
Pack Square Conservancy
"The Arts -Ask for More" - Americans for the Arts
Other Park Systems Historic Sites in the Asheville Region
Blue Ridge Parkway
Buncombe County Parks, Greenways & Recreation 
National Parks Service
National Register of Historic Places
NC State Parks

Agency Accreditation CAPRA Standards

Detailed information on each of the 155 standards

Charged with providing high quality recreation services and experiences, an increasing number of park and recreation agencies across the country are applying for the Agency Accreditation Program through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).


 CAPRA administers a rigorous program based on self-assessment and peer review using national standards of best practice to better promote the quality of agency services and delivery systems.

Agency accreditation is available to all entities administering park and recreation systems, including municipalities, townships, counties, special districts and regional authorities, councils of government and schools.

Agency accreditation is voluntary, but an essential piece to producing quality environments for communities to play, live and grow.



Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department

The Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department is dedicated to enhancing your quality of life by providing diverse cultural and recreational experiences.

Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department is The First Nationally Accredited Municipal Parks & Recreation Department and an NRPA Gold Medal Award Winner (2002).


NRPA Medal


Department Overview
Open spaces, parks, recreation and cultural arts provide opportunities for living, learning and leading a full and productive life. Parks and recreation benefit individuals and neighborhoods while having a positive impact on economic growth and environmental preservation.  Asheville Parks and Recreation maintains 54 public parks, 6 miles of greenways, 11 community centers, numerous programs for youth, seniors and outdoor enthusiasts, a comprehensive athletics program, and many facilities that provide resources for a range of activities.

Speakers Bureau
Some department staff are available to speak to community groups on a variety of topics. These may include: Park Planning and Development, Public Art, Recreation Programs, and Senior Programs, to name a few. To request a speaker, call Frank McGowan, Superintendent of Business Services, at 259-5811 or send an e-mail to  Please be specific in your request and provide at least a month of lead time for staff to adjust their schedules accordingly.

Public Comment

Bid Requests and RFP's

Grounds Maintenance Services at Pack Square Park
Mandatory Pre-Bid Meeting:   Oct 24, 2012 at 9 a.m.
Asheville Public Works Bldg, 161 S Charlotte St
Large Conference Room, 1st Floor
Asheville,  NC

Bid details and download here



Message from the Director
The benefits of parks and recreation can be a walk in the woods. It can be the sense of exhilaration for the child who hits the ball with a bat for the very first time. It
can be the positive feeling of exhaustion that volunteers feel at the end of the day. Or it might be the sense of connection people feel when gathered with others to enjoy a fireworks display. So, whether you are an avid participant or occasional observer of parks and recreation, enjoy the benefits. Explore the links in this section to learn more about Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts.


Contact Information:
Roderick Simmons, Director
Main office location: Asheville City Hall, Fourth Floor, 70 Court Plaza
Mailing address: P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Phone: (828) 259-5800

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Department History
The City of Asheville began park and recreation services in the late 1890s with the construction of Riverside, Montford and Aston Parks. Shortly after, Recreation Park, McCormick Field and the Municipal Golf Course were added to the system. With a growing park system, the City developed the Parks and Playgrounds Division under the Public Works Department.

Augusta L. Barnett was appointed the first director of the Parks and Recreation Department in 1956. Although Barnett made significant improvements to recreation programs, she did not have the luxury of having quality facilities, and was forced to use schools and YMCA facilities to house programs.

Historical Photos of Parks Facilities

After Barnett's retirement in 1971, Ray L. Kisiah became the director. During his tenure, Parks and Recreation experienced tremendous growth due to the abundance
of federal funds to support public parks and recreation facilities throughout the United States. In all, over $5.2 million of non-city funds renovated existing facilities and built new ones.

Kisiah retired in 1995 and Irby Brinson was named director. In 1994, Parks and Recreation became the first municipal recreation department to receive national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and was re-accredited in 2004.

In 1997, Parks and Recreation began upgrading Asheville's parks and recreation system by developing the first long-range comprehensive master plan, the Asheville Parks and Recreation 2015 Comprehensive Master Plan and the Asheville Greenways Master Plan in 1998. Both serve as the guide to improvements to existing facilities and addition of new, greenway development, land acquisition, expansion of services and staff, and development of funding opportunities.

Historical photos of APRCA

The National Recreation and Parks Association named Asheville Parks and Recreation the Gold Medal winner in 2002. Top-notch departments from around the
country vie for the award each year in four different categories based on population size.

In 2005, the City of Asheville received significant recreation facilities from Buncombe County as part of the water agreement negotiations. The Municipal Golf Course, Nature Center, McCormick Field, Aston Park and Recreation Park joined the Asheville Parks and Recreation family.

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Vision & Master Plan
The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation, Cultural Arts and Greenways Master Plan was completed in 2009 to guide how the City provides these services over the next several years.  For information about the master plan contact the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Art Department at (828) 259-5800 or

Master Plan Document
Asheville FINAL Report
Asheville FINAL Executive Summary 
2013 Greenway Master Plan Updates with Map

Appendix I Demographics and Trends
Appendix II Focus Groups Summary
Appendix III Cost Recovery Pyramid Methodology
Appendix IV GRASP History and Methodology
Appendix V Asheville Park and Facility Inventory and GRASP A 
Appendix VII Alternative Funding
Appendix VIII Sample Partnership Policy
Appendix IX Sample Sponsorship Policy
Appendix X Example Park Development Menu List and Walkability 
Appendix XI Description of Parks

Map A Asheville Regional
Perspective A Neighborhood Access to Components
Perspective B Walkable Access to Components
Perspective C Neighborhood Access Indoor Facilities
Perspective D Neighborhood Access Parks & Outdoor Facilities
Perspective E Neighborhood Access Trails
Recommendation Map
Resource Map B System Inventory Map
Resource Map C Sub Area Map
Greenways Recommendation Map 
2013 Greenway Master Plan Updates with Map

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2013 Annual Report
The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department's 2010 Annual Report lists  achievements and programs from the various divisions, boards, and department-wide initiatives.

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