Communities across Buncombe County to consider the future of Pack Square Plaza, Asheville’s most central public space.
The City of Asheville and Buncombe County will kick off the start of the Pack Square Plaza Visioning Project by launching an online Engagement Hub on the City of Asheville website Friday September 16, 2022. The hub allows the public to provide on-going input on the future of the plaza as well as feedback on installations from the Art in the Heart program. The public, including those who don’t visit downtown often, are invited to visit the engagement hub and provide feedback that will inform the five key areas of study in the project.
The areas include:
- Issues/ideas associated with the repurposing of the former Vance Monument area
- How equity and inclusion can be advanced at Pack Square Plaza, now and in the future
- Guidance on a future design/design process for capital improvements to Pack Square, including budgetary considerations
- Recommendations on a public private partnership to support future improvements to the area (including operations and management)
- Ideas to better connect, both physically and mentally, Pack Square to The Block
Engagement through Public Art: September Kick-Off
Four free Art in the Heart events that address themes about inclusivity will happen on the Plaza starting Saturday, September 17.
Saturday, Sept 17: Leah and the Rabbit, a puppet show.
Sunday, Sept 18 : Faces of Change, a film.
Sunday, Sept 18 – Oct 30: Room in the Sky, a sculpture
Sunday, Sept 18: Haus of Hues, an installation
To participate in the kick-off, the public is encouraged to check out Art in the Heart events and then visit the the Pack Square Plaza Engagement Hub to provide feedback; or to just visit the online hub and share your initial thoughts and input.
This kick-off marks the beginning of a nine-month process that will include a variety of ways for neighborhoods, individuals, and families to build or rebuild a connection with this central public space. The process is being facilitated by a team led by Mitchell Silver of McAdams Company and including staff from both the City and County. The team will collect histories, opinions, ideas, and other materials that can help inform a more inclusive narrative about the past, present and especially the future of Pack Square Plaza.
Running concurrent with the entire project, Art in the Heart will feature eleven free installations and activities from now until March 2023.
Learn more about the Pack Square Plaza Visioning project and how this is a continuation of the work started by the Vance Monument Task Force.
Happening this fall
In September and October, the project team will go to neighborhood festivals, libraries, and association meetings to better understand community-based efforts to build recreational, economic, and social opportunities across the County and assess how Pack Square Plaza fits into the mix. A broad cross section of County residents and visitors will be given voice in the project and encouraged to participate in the visioning process. A community advisory committee will help the team understand if additional connections need to be made.
The project team will also:
- hold two online public meetings and
- host a free special event downtown in November.
What happens to the public input?
Input gathered through the hub, events, meetings, and on-site analysis will be assembled by the urban design, parks, and equity team leads from McAdams Company. McAdams will re-engage the public by:
- asking for feedback on the draft document in early 2023, before
- asking elected officials to adopt the Vision Document as a guidebook that the City, County, and civic partners can use to reshape Pack Square Plaza in the future.
Recommendations are anticipated to include improvements to the plaza’s design, park and festival programming, opportunities for inclusive economic development, long term maintenance plans for the area, and connectivity to The Block neighborhood next door.