Asheville City Council approves funding for design phase of Southside Center bond project

Grant Southside Center concept sketch
This Grant Southside Center concept sketch will be further refined during the design phase of this bond project.


 The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center Phase II bond project will move to the design phase, following approval by City Council to authorize money for a contract with Asheville architect Clark Nexsen for design services.


During their Sept. 24 meeting, Council authorized a contract for the design to proceed on the Phase 2 improvements to the Southside Center. These improvements are part of the $74 million in bonds approved by voters in 2016, including $17 million for park projects and improvements.


Opened in 2011, Phase 1 of the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center created an auditorium for theater production and community classroom space. The proposed second phase of the project would address community-identified needs for indoor and outdoor recreation programming and facilities.  Priority improvements identified will be a LEED Silver gymnasium addition and expanded indoor program space. The scope for this design contract will assist in public and community engagement, develop construction documents, cost estimates, and construction administration.  


The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center, 285 Livingston St., is named for Dr. Wesley Grant Sr., who was a prominent leader in Asheville’s African American community during the time of the Civil Rights movement and the period of Asheville’s Urban Renewal in the 1960s and 1970s. The center is also named for the Southside community, a large geographic area surrounding the center that for the most part was demolished during urban renewal.


Other projects in this area include Walton Street Park and Pool, greenways, and road improvements that will connect the center to downtown and future riverfront development.


Staff is still in the process of conducting community engagement and planning for Walton Street Park and Pool project.  The design contract for Walton Street Pool will go before City Council at a later date.


Stay tuned for upcoming community engagement as this design process begins! In the meantime, keep up with the project on the Southside Recreation Facilities webpage.

For the staff report presented to Council for their action, visit this link.


About the bond projects

The $74 million in bonds approved by voters in 2016 includes projects categorized in three areas: parks ($17 million), affordable housing ($25 million) and transportation ($32 million). From planning, projects move to design process and then into construction phase. Keep up with project phase, including money spent and other details, by visiting the City’s Capital Improvement Project and Bond Dashboard at this link

Parks bond projects already completed include:

  • Tempie Avery Montford Center outdoor improvements, including an all-new playground
  • Herb Watts Park playground
  • Leah Chiles Park playground
  • Sport courts at Malvern Hills, Montford, and Murphy-Oakley Parks