It may seem like buildings are going up everywhere in Asheville, but the new structure in Pritchard Park isn’t attempt to squeeze in another downtown condo. The kiosk is a ranger’s station for the park, which is a sometimes staging area for clashing cultures downtown.
Asheville Parks and Recreation Director Roderick Simmons says a ranger has already been hired and is due to begin her new job in mid-January. Pritchard Park has found itself at the epicenter of downtown discussion, sparking debate about the homeless, tourism, the weekly drum circle and a growing downtown residential population. That attention, Simmons said, led to a discussion at the city for hiring a permanent ranger for the park.
“The Pritchard Park issue has been going on awhile,” Simmons tells Xpress. “There needs to be some type of ambassador, some type of monitor in that area. The police can’t be everywhere all the time.”
The city already employs rangers at other parks, such as those on Amboy and Azalea roads. This particular kiosk is a temporary structure to determine what changes need to be made when the permanent building is erected, Simmons says.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer