Asheville -- May 28, 2024: Asheville City Council authorized 180 thousand dollars to fund a contract for community

facilitation, engagement, and project support services for the “Boosting the Block” Project, one of three projects funded by the Mellon Foundation to implement components of the Pack Square Plaza Vision Plan.

The Block is Asheville’s historic Black business district and multicultural hub that also serves as a geographic and cultural connection between downtown and the East End Valley Street Neighborhood.

The Boosting the Block project will include:

The construction of a physical gateway and cultural corridor between Pack Square and The Block
Increased capacity of neighborhood anchors to shape and influence the future of The Block
Enhanced public spaces and programming that authentically narrate the past, present, and future of The Block
Consensus and implementation of neighborhood identity and marketing for The Block 

Happening Now:

The Community Facilitator will lead engagement and support all aspects of project management including schedule, planning, design, and implementation throughout the project. The selected team is a collaborative partnership between Illumined Leadership Solutions and Bennett Weston Consulting, both Black-owned, Durham-based firms. They were selected based on qualifications and their approach to the project through a competitive RFP process and selection committee composed of City staff, County staff, and community representatives. 

Additional contracting opportunities that are supported through this project include a local community coordinator, creative strategist/consulting artist, marketing/promotion/advertising, and production of a community celebration. These are in addition to the anticipated design/engineering contract and construction contracts. 


Boosting the Block is one of three projects funded by the Mellon Foundation’s Monuments Project Initiative that will advance elements of the Pack Square Plaza Vision Plan. The Vision Plan was adopted by the City Council on September 26, 2023, following a planning and community engagement process led by the McAdams Company and City and County staff.

In addition to the Boosting the Block project, grant funding will be used for:

design and engineering for reshaping Pack Square
supporting a partnership with the Buncombe County Library to expand programming and education around more inclusive storytelling and history efforts in our community. 


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