Council approves funds for building update in historic Carrier Park

From playgrounds to its picnic pavilion, popular Carrier Park serves as one of Asheville’s premiere parks. Located on Amboy Road at Michigan Avenue in West Asheville, the property has been a popular recreation spot for more than a century.

The site was home to Asheville Motor Speedway from the early 1960s until the track closed in the late 1990s. Did you know before it was a speedway, it was used as a horse race track? The park’s namesake, Edwin Carrier, built Carrier Race Track and Fair Grounds between the Sulphur Springs Railway and French Broad River around 1900.

So for more than a century, 32-acre Carrier Park has been a gathering spot for generations along the French Broad River, through several incarnations. The City acquired the property in 1998. Now it’s used for roller hockey, lawn bowling, picnics, festivals and much more. With all that use, City staff has been working with City Council for opportunities to upgrade and improve this park.

One such improvement is coming soon. At its April 26 meeting, City Council approved a budget amendment to provide funds to renovate the multi-use building that formerly served as a concession stand. Staff will bring this building into ADA compliance and provide improved restrooms as well as event registration space, another use for the building.

“The purpose of this project is to renovate the entire building, to address outstanding building safety and code compliant issues,” said Pete Wall, City Landscape Architect serving as project manager.

The new design calls for more light, window replacement, plumbing and electrical replacements, and a family restroom addition, in addition to gender-specific facilities. Work on the 1,200-square-foot building is expected to begin in June with a 4-month estimated work timeline. In the interim, temporary bathroom facilities will be provided.

In 2015, the City permitted 17 events at Carrier Park, the largest of which is the Mountain Sports Festival in May. City staff made sure to schedule construction to begin on this project after that event, so as to lessen its impact.

The budget request from Council is $290,000. That money will help pay for improvements such as LED lighting with motion sensors, as part of the City’s continued work to use energy sustainably.

“We expect this enhancement to be a vast improvement over what we have there now,” said Wall. “It will be a great service to our citizens in one of the busiest parks in our system.”

Once construction begins, the building will be fenced off for safety and the temporary bathroom facilities will be installed. We ask for your patience while the City makes this important upgrade!

Looking ahead, another improvement is coming to Carrier Park. Bids to upgrade the inline hockey rink replacement have come in and are expected to go before Council May 10.