Park District: South
Census Tract: 22.01/22.02
Neighborhood: Royal Pines Village


The Royal Pines neighborhood got its start as a large residential subdivision in 1925. Named for the white pine trees growing in the area, the development offered electric power, paved roads, a water and sewerage system, and recreational opportunities for its residents. Like most of the area and nation, the Great Depression slowed growth, but the population boom following World War II helped realize Royal Pines’ potential.

Jake Rusher owned the Royal Pines Club, Recreation Center, Pool, and Skateboard Park for over five decades. The campus also included a dance hall and casino, becoming a popular hangout for college and high school students from the 1940s through the 1980s. During its heyday, The Supremes, the Isley Brothers, The Drifters, Bo Diddley, and other stars performed at the center.

In 1999, Rusher donated the land to the City of Asheville. Asheville Parks & Recreation replaced the pool and casino building with a playground, natural play spaces, benches, and a basketball court. Following Asheville voters’ 2016 approval of $17 million in bond funding to improve, enhance, and develop parks and facilities, a series of community meetings, focus groups, and other feedback opportunities were offered throughout 2017-2019.

On February 11, 2020, Asheville City Council unanimously authorized the City Manager to move forward with a $975,274 construction contract with Carolina Specialties Construction for improvements to Jake Rusher Park. Improvements include a pavilion and restroom building, additional parking, accessible sidewalks, sport courts, new landscaping, improved lighting, and relocation of utilities. Construction on the recreational features was completed in 2021.

The interactive playable art feature is scheduled for fabrication in 2023 with installation to follow and will be an addition to the existing playground.


Project Timeline


  • April 5, 17, and 30: Community meetings
  • Summer-Fall: Planning and conceptual drawings


  • May 19 and 24: Community meetings
  • June: Online feedback
  • Summer-Fall: Planning and conceptual drawings


  • December 19: Bids advertised for qualified builders


  • February 11: City Council unanimously approves the scope of work and authorizes the City Manager to enter into a contract
  • April: Construction begins


  • July 24: Ribbon cutting
  • October 7: Virtual meet and greet with Becky Borlan


  • Design, engineering, and development of interactive playable art feature


  • Winter: Site preparation, fabrication, and installation of playable art feature


Supporting Documents

Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Bond Referendum Overview

Spring of 2017 Community Meetings Flyer

Spring of 2018 Community Meetings Flyer


Contact Information

Parks & Recreation,, 828-259-5800



Related Services

Register for parks & recreation programming such as camps and activities for children, teens, and adults.

Business Inclusion (ABI)

The Business Inclusion Office for the City of Asheville actively seeks to identify minority and women-owned businesses for an opportunity to participate as providers of goods and services to the city.


Information about adult sports leagues and youth athletics programs offered by Asheville Parks & Recreation.

Enjoy Greenways

Explore an interactive map of the Asheville's greenways and learn how to use them for your recreation and transportation enjoyment.

Pools & Splasheville

Hours and information about Asheville's public pools and Splasheville, the free interactive splash pad play fountain in Pack Square Park.

Facility Search

Find Asheville parks, community centers, and pools near you. Search by location, filter by amenity, or view a list.

Community Events

Find upcoming special events, activities, programs, and camps in Asheville.

Related Departments

city of Asheville

Capital Management

  The Capital Management Department is comprised of a Construction Division and Facility Management Division. The Construction Division consists of four (4) programs including; Building Construction Program, Innovation District Program, Parks and Recreation Program, and Transportation Program.  The Facility Management Division consists of two (2) programs including; City Hall Operations Division and Facility Maintenance Division. The department’s main [...]

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Asheville Parks & Recreation

Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) manages a unique collection of public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, Riverside Cemetery, sports fields and courts, and community centers that offer programs related to wellness, education, and culture for Ashevillians of all ages.