Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside CenterBy
Approving funding for this community center was among my first votes on City Council, and it’s deeply gratifying to see the doors open. The Grant Center will be a new community hub for residents of Southside neighborhood and the River Arts District. It symbolizes healthy renewal and a integration of vision across generations. Thanks to all of the partners who helped make it a reality. I hope you’ll come and celebrate with us.
City of Asheville press release:
The City of Asheville invites the public to the grand opening of the Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center, Asheville’s newest community center located at the former site of Livingston Street Park. Mayor Terry Bellamy will officiate the event on Thursday, October 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the center located at 285 Livingston Street at the corner of Livingston and Depot Street. The dedication ceremony begins at 5:30 followed by an open house until 7:30.
The new center is named after the late pastor, Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. who in 1959, founded the Worldwide Missionary Baptist Tabernacle Church in 1959 and served for nearly 50 years. Dr. Grant was a prominent leader in Asheville’s African American community during the time of the civil rights movement and the period of Asheville’s urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s. The center name also recognizes the Southside community, a large geographic area that once surrounded the new center. Southside was a predominately African American community of businesses, churches and neighborhoods that were for the most part demolished during Asheville’s urban renewal.
The center is designed to be constructed in phases. The first phase, known as the Cultural Art phase, opens in October. This phase is 7,897 square feet and features an auditorium, three classrooms, office space, storage, and parking. The Physical Activity Phase will be constructed next and will include a gymnasium, a spray ground, playground, and a section of the Town Branch Greenway. The Community Phase will be the final piece of the project and will include space for community partner operations. Future phases will be constructed as funding becomes available.
The Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center is the first facility constructed by the City of Asheville to be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system to provide building owners with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Some of the LEED features include a green roof, geo-thermal heating and cooling, storm water runoff management, and natural interior lighting. During construction, more than 75% of all construction waste was diverted from the landfill and recycled.
The center was designed by Mathews Architecture, P.A. and constructed by H&M Constructors. Mathews Architecture was recently honored with the 2011 Firm of the Year Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The award is the highest honor bestowed on an architectural practice by the NCAIA, and it is the first time a firm in western North Carolina has received the award. The Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center is one of the firm’s most recent projects considered in the award.
The $2.9 million center construction was funded by a number of contributors including the Eaton Charitable Fund, Glass Foundation, Janirve Foundation, Junior League of Asheville, the Raise the Roof at the Reid Community Campaign and the City of Asheville. Construction of the new center matches priority goals for each funder in that it serves children and their families, and provides a strategic public facility for the Asheville community.