Pop-up uses coming for City-owned downtown space

Asheville Public Works crews removed gravel from the site the week of May 22 to prep it for temporary uses.


Survey launched inviting input
on a temporary name too


City-owned properties on Haywood Street and Page Avenue downtown, currently vacant, are being prepared to support flexible short-term uses. On May 23, City Council heard an update from Downtown Development Specialist Dana Frankel on the groundwork being laid to prepare the sites for public use and pop-up programming.

Last week, Public Works crews began removing gravel from a portion of the Haywood Street site to improve accessibility. Installation of electricity to provide for operational needs and key amenities are to come, including seating, tables, trash cans, and trees (in planters). Signage will also be installed with information about the project, hours and rules.


Why is this happening?

In December 2015, City Council directed staff to conduct a community visioning process to inform long-term decision making about these and other surrounding City-owned properties. In March 2016, Council contracted with the Asheville Design Center to serve as a facilitator for a Council-appointed community advisory team to develop a long-term vision for the properties, and to consider possible temporary uses that could activate the site and inform the planning and design process. Soliciting feedback from the community and narrowing down a list of possibilities, the advisory team returned to City Council in December 2016 with recommendations for the following temporary uses and installations:

  • Raised garden beds
  • Mobile food vending
  • Open vendor markets
  • Movable seating
  • Interactive public art
  • Designated performance space

Following the recommendations, Council directed staff to proceed toward implementation.


What’s next?

The City is making the Haywood Street site available for general use, and for community groups interested in organizing pop-up programs. The idea for the first year is to enliven the space in ways that require minimal site and programmatic investments, while interest from the community in using the space can be determined.

The City will issue a “Request for Expressions of Interest” (RFEI) to solicit proposals for pop-up uses (such as food trucks, vendor markets, performances, educational purposes, etc.) to take place between August 2017 and August 2018. The RFEI is expected to be released May 31 on the City’s Requests for Bids & Proposals webpage.

The City’s Office of Sustainability is also in discussions with community members about implementing a temporary community garden at the Page Avenue site, identified as one of four locations in a larger program as part of the Asheville Edibles Program.


Help us name Haywood Street site

In the meantime, the City is launching a short survey to solicit community preference on a temporary name for the site and its programming. From now through May 29, visit Open City Hall Asheville to participate in the survey.


Want more information?

Look for a project page soon on the City of Asheville website. Or contact Dana Frankel at DFrankel@ashevillenc.gov or 828- 251-4051.