Asheville Parks & Recreation is collecting input from the Burton Street neighborhood on how to prioritize the spending of $500,000 on new, expanded, and/or updated recreation features in the park that surrounds Burton Street Community Center. This neighborhood investment money has specifically been earmarked for recreation infrastructure improvements in the park.
Currently, the park includes a multi-purpose field, playground, basketball courts, community garden, open space, historic marker, and mural of neighborhood founder E.W. Pearson. Previous engagement sessions, surveys, and Burton Street Neighborhood Plans from 2010 and 2018 indicate a number of ways to enhance the park with gathering areas, recreation features, and performance space in the community’s vision.
Founded in the early 20th century by dedicated civic leader E.W. Pearson, the Burton Street neighborhood was established as a community for Black families with a focus on agriculture and farming, but began to change as the population increased and churches, stores, and a school were built. The extension of Patton Ave. in the 1950s and construction of I-240 in the 1960s bisected the neighborhood, but its strong community connections, determination, resilience, and ability to overcome many challenges has built on Pearson’s legacy. The school exists today as Burton Street Community Center and continues to be a focal point of the neighborhood with regular parties and festivals, meetings, events, and an afterschool program.
Built in 1928, the original building consisted of classrooms, an auditorium, a lunchroom, a library, and a principal’s office. The school was closed as part of Asheville City Schools’ desegregation plan in 1965 and converted to a public community center. Recent improvements include solar panels and WiFi upgrades. The City of Asheville is currently conducting a comprehensive facility study that includes the structural conditions of the building.
Surrounding the community center, Burton Street Park currently includes a multi-purpose field, playground, basketball courts, gaga pit, community garden, historic marker, open space, parking, and mural of Pearson. Previous engagement sessions, surveys, and Burton Street Neighborhood Plans from 2010 and 2018 indicate multi-use open space, playground updates, basketball court resurfacing, parking improvements, an area for arts and education, and public art in the vision for this vibrant community asset.
In 2018, Burton Street Park improvements were prioritized using Asheville Parks & Recreation’s equity-based criteria. The current park has seen little investment over the last 20 years, resulting in features and infrastructure that have exceeded their life expectancy and are in need of repair or replacement.
- August 16: Burton Street Neighborhood Association meeting
- August 27: Burton Street Community Night block party
- Neighborhood Improvement Plan (2010)
- Neighborhood Improvement Plan (2018)
- Project Timeline
- Burton Street Community Center deed
Kyle Autry, Parks & Recreation, 828-254-1942