Asheville Parks & Recreation shares results of Magnolia Park playground survey

Magnolia Park playground in Asheville, North Carolina

With millions of dollars in bond projects bringing significant improvements, modernization, and expansion to the Asheville Parks & Recreation system over the past few years, the City continues to support its 2036 Vision with additional investments in parks and healthy living opportunities that are not related to voter-approved bond assignments. One such project is Magnolia Park, a neighborhood playground and open space near the Montford, Five Points, Klondyke, and Hillcrest neighborhoods. Located near the intersection of Reed Creek Greenway and Magnolia Avenue, the spot is also popular with greenway users.


Magnolia Park received its last major update in the late-1990s with a playful mural added to the exterior wall of the restrooms a few years ago. It was identified as a high-priority playground renovation project during research for the bond project in 2016, but was unable to benefit from bond funding as construction prices continued to rise. Remaining a priority, the Parks & Recreation Department allocated Community Investment funds for the project.


Community input was collected last fall during a gathering in the park and a public survey. Inclusive play essentials, coupled with this information, will inform planning and design over the next few months to reimagine the park as an intergenerational space that supports development of the whole child and the whole community with physical, social-emotional, sensory, cognitive, and communication benefits for visitors.


The City is expected to accept project proposals in the spring with construction completed later in the year.


Key findings from community survey

  • Swinging was the most popular activity by far with 44% choosing it as their favorite playground activity, followed by climbing (27%) and sliding (23%).
  • On the other end, 60% of respondents chose spinning as their least favorite. Hanging took the runner-up spot with 29% disliking rings, ropes, trapezes, and vertical ladders.
  • With 46% of the votes, geometric topped the preferred design style, followed by traditional (27%), nature-inspired (21%), motion play (17%), and imaginative (10%). Respondents could choose more than one option.

geometric style play equipment
Example of geometric style play equipment
traditional style play equipment
Traditional style play equipment

  • The age breakdown of those who helped make answer selections was composed of kids 12 and under (65%), adults 18-54 (39%), and adults 55 or older (10%). Respondents were able to choose more than one option on this question if multiple people answered the same survey.
  • See results in graph form here.


Additional comments emphasized the need for shade and benches, incorporating natural elements such as fruit-producing trees and edible plants, and that Magnolia Park is one of the only toddler-oriented public parks serving neighborhoods north of downtown.


Planned renovations include playground replacement, fence updates, asphalt replacement, landscaping improvements, a new ADA-compliant entry, and replacement of benches, picnic tables, water fountain, and trash and recycling receptacles. Based on recent Asheville Parks & Recreation playground projects, community members can expect a design that embraces nature, integrates a balance of shade through managed plant control, encourages imaginative and creative play with both play equipment and elements of the naturally-occurring environment, and provides a truly intergenerational space that can be enjoyed by the entire family.


Follow along with the project on the project web page at this link.


For more information, please email or call 828-259-5800.