This is the latest in a series of profiles highlighting the City of Asheville’s vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. The City of Asheville maintains a list of neighborhoods who have registered as official organizations. Each month we will invite one of these to tell you a little more about the place they call home. If you are not sure if your neighborhood is on our listing, please contact Neighborhood Coordinator Marsha Stickford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name of group: Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association
Formed when: 1973
What qualities make your neighborhood unique?
The Grove Park neighborhood is an excellent intact example of an early twentieth century planned suburban residential development, featuring a wide array of revival and eclectic domestic architecture in an appropriately landscaped setting. The Grove Park plan was the first in Asheville to abandon the typical grid street layout and to provide curvilinear streets, parks, and trees in a naturalistic setting.
Who are the people that make up your neighborhood?
The Grove Park Community is an active one with many of the residents often being seen on a walk, jog, or taking in the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and the Grove Park Inn. The neighborhood is comprised of a significant number of doctors, lawyers and a wide range of professionals and business managers and owners. There are many families who reside in Grove Park with both young and college age children, empty nesters and retirees. All these factors contribute to being a vibrant and engaged neighborhood.
What is some of your neighborhood history?
Grove Park Inn builder Edwin Wiley Grove purchased the land surrounding the Grove Park Inn and sold it to developers and prominent individuals who created a housing stock of remarkable and delightful dwellings, while Charlotte Street became the setting for a number of important buildings, such as the Manor Inn.
Richard Sharp Smith, the supervising architect of the Biltmore Estate, influenced much of the neighborhood’s distinctive architectural style, “English Derived Craftsman”, which was inspired by the American and English Arts and Crafts Movement.
The streetcar lines in the turn of the last century and the accessibility and affordability of the automobile played an important role in the neighborhood’s platting as a “streetcar suburb” with garages, communal parking and larger lots for homes.
Today, three of the neighborhood’s areas, Grove Park, Proximity Park and Sunset Terrace are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The current residents share a passion to maintain and protect that legacy.
What role does your neighborhood play as part of Asheville’s community?
In 2013, the Grove Park Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association (GPSMNA) announced restoration plans for three historic parks that are an integral part of the neighborhood (E. W. Grove Park, Sunset Parkway and the Griffing Blvd. Rose Gardens). To implement these plans, the GPSMNA entered into a multi-year partnership agreement with the City of Asheville. Revenues generated from the annual Tour of Homes and Gardens fund the initial costs of restoring the parks, and further fund raising options are under consideration to advance these efforts and restore the fountain that was part of the original E. W. Park design.
What are some of the things you look forward to in the future of your neighborhood?
Over the next year, the neighborhood association will make a concerted to expand membership level to fifty percent of its residents. In addition, the association is considering the possibility of extending its north and northeast boundaries to include the adjacent streets that are not currently organized or part of an existing recognized neighborhood association.
Under consideration is a launching of a capital campaign in 2015 to raise money to restore the historic fountain that was part of the original E. W. Grove Park until the early 1960s. A plan will be laid out to present to potential donors with the idea of showing donors where and how their money will be directed to a project that will further enhance the neighborhood and the beauty of the park. A feasibility study will be conducted in advance of the campaign where if the requisite amount of money is achieved the project will be undertaken.
Name something that you would like to see to make your neighborhood better?
The association, working closely with Asheville Police Department, has an active community watch program which sends out crime alerts and crime prevention techniques to deter crime and make our neighborhood safer.
We continue to focus on building the sense of community for the neighborhood. Upon identifying new residents, a welcome email letter is sent to the household providing background information on the neighborhood, its history, ongoing social activities and a calendar of events. In addition, new families are asked to join Nextdoor, a free and private social networking website for neighborhoods that can be a valuable tool to make our neighborhood safer and stronger.