Fountains in Pritchard Park to get makeover – after Bele Chere

Almost un-noticed in the rush of tents, trailers, signs and people that is Bele Chere, city workers placed signs around Pritchard Park: It will close next week for fountain repairs and improvements.

Signs of progress in Pritchard Park beautification project.

“East End of Pritchard Park,” the signs stated, “Will be closed from July 30th through August 3rd for fountain construction.”

“Part of the original fountain design that proved problematic are the pools where water collects at each fountain. It was next to impossible to keep litter, debris, animals, people, etc, out of the water, and the pump system could never keep up. As a result, we turned both pools into planters until we had the resources to renovate,” said Debbie Ivester, assistant director of the Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts department.

Working through local nonprofit Asheville Greenworks, DARN has raised the $10,000 needed — mostly from small donors — to completely redesign the fountains and complete the improvements for the one that’s on the Haywood Street side. “They will resemble a mountain waterfall when we are done,” says DARN president Trina Mullen. “Our designer, Jill Haynie of Bat Cave, N.C., will be working to increase our seating and safety around the fountains. The jagged rocks will be leveled and straightened.” The pool will be replaced with river rock, so there will be no standing water, only flowing. New plumbing and electric will be installed in both fountains to support the new pumps.

Along with the small donors, Mullen highlighted business partners who are making a difference, saying, “It is a real plus to have our downtown business people onboard with us on this.” She mentioned Steve Metcalf (a former North Carolina legislator and Buncombe County manager who’s now president of The Policy Group, Carter and Carter, Wells Fargo, Four Corners Home, and Asheville Discount Pharmacy.

Meanwhile, DARN needs more funding to complete improvements for the fountain that’s on the College Street side of Pritchard Park. Your tax-deductible donations can be made through Asheville Greenworks, just let them know it is for Pritchard Park.

The work is being done by a contractor paid for by DARN and the work donated to the City of Asheville. The project should be done before Friday, August 3.


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