Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Catching up on the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s announcement last month of grant money from its tourism product development fund. The fund gets its money from Buncombe County’s hotel room tax. Asheville theaters were big winners this year, including Asheville Community Theatre, which was awarded $1 million for an expansion and renovation project.

Here’s the press release:

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) awarded five community projects $3,930,000 in funding today from the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF).

The funds, generated from a portion of the room tax revenues paid by overnight visitors in Buncombe County lodging accommodations, will go toward three theater projects, a WNC Farmers Market revitalization project and additional features at Montreat College’s Pulliam Stadium.

The projects were thoroughly evaluated according to the criteria established by the legislature and the BCTDA. The funding will assist with construction of projects that are expected to attract overnight visitors and generate spending at local businesses, jobs and tax revenue. The projects will also be enjoyed by Buncombe County citizens.


Asheville Community Theatre (ACT) Expansion & Renovation: This project at the 44-year-old theatre, located downtown on Walnut Street, encompasses a multi-phase renovation of the current performance space and backstage areas including new seating, sound and lighting upgrades and increased capacity at their black box theatre. These updated amenities and modern-technology additions will lead to an expanded programming mix and greater visitor experience. These elements will also allow the theatre to create a new facility in a future phase to meet the growing demand for ACT’s education programs.
Award: $1,000,000 Theater Creation & Meeting Room Conversion: A project of the City of Asheville, improvements to the U.S. Cellular Center include the installation of a curtaining wall system to transform the 7,200-seat arena into a theater with flexible seating capacity for 2,500 to 5,000 people, a sound and light package, and the conversion of a storage area into meeting space. The improvements are expected to expand the type and frequency of events that have been previously priced out of the Asheville market due to costly curtain, lighting and sound equipment rentals.

Previously, the BCTDA invested $4,175,000 in the City of Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center for facility upgrades and improvements through three TPDF grants in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Award: $1,500,000

Montreat College Pulliam Stadium Phase II: This project, submitted by Montreat College, comes after the recently completed Phase I of the construction of a $2-million athletic complex featuring a new soccer and lacrosse field, running track, restroom facilities and parking lot. Phase II focuses on additional features such as athletic field lighting, grandstand seating and expanded parking that would enable the complex to be used for evening games, invitational competitions and multi-day community events.
Award: $350,000

WNC Farmers Market Retail Revitalization Project: This project, submitted by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is part of a larger master plan that focuses on renovations and upgrades to the retail area. This includes the installation of commercial clear-view garage doors throughout the retail building to provide natural lighting, and interior and exterior facility improvements that contribute to an overall enhanced visitor experience.
Award: $380,000

The Wortham Center: Submitted by Pack Place Performing Arts, this project transforms Diana Wortham Theatre into a facility with three separate venues for the performing arts. In addition to refurbishing the current theater with a new sound and lighting package and upgraded seating, two new theatres will be created to support additional and simultaneous programming of events within an intimate performance experience. The project also includes the revamping of the main entrance and courtyard area.
Award: $700,000

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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