Empowering Neighborhoods, Enhancing Connectivity

About the Project

The Community Space Upfit Project is about more than just technological enhancements; it's about reimagining how our community spaces function as integral parts of our daily lives and in times of crisis. This initiative is not merely an upgrade, but a holistic approach to fostering community-driven growth and resilience. Selected spaces will be equipped to host a wide array of activities, ranging from educational workshops and cultural events to emergency response gatherings.

Our approach is grounded in a deep understanding of the unique challenges and needs of Asheville's diverse neighborhoods. By integrating insights from the City’s Climate Justice Initiative and continuous community engagement, we ensure that the benefits of this project extend to those in the most vulnerable communities, strengthening the fabric of our city.

Why It Matters

In an era where connectivity is crucial, the Community Space Upfit Project seeks to break down barriers to participation and foster a more inclusive, resilient, and engaged community. These enhancements will not only facilitate more inclusive community meetings and events but also ensure that these spaces are equipped to serve as crucial points of connection during emergencies. By fostering a more resilient and engaged community, we lay the groundwork for a stronger Asheville, where every resident has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the collective well-being. This project is a testament to the city's commitment to building enduring community ties and enhancing our collective capacity to respond to challenges with agility and unity.

Who Can Apply

Eligibility for the project is open to any neighborhood organization in the City of Asheville that is registered with the City’s neighborhood registration program. Registered neighborhood associations, homeowners associations, neighborhood-based coalitions, and resident organizations/councils (including those on City of Asheville Housing Authority properties) are encouraged to apply.

The application period closed on July 12, 2024. Selected applicants will be notified by the end of August. For more information about the application process, neighborhood representatives are encouraged to visit the "Application" tab.

Project Enhancements

Our aim is not just to equip these spaces with technology, but to transform them into hubs of community activity and engagement. Depending on the individual needs of a community space and the neighborhood it serves, upgrades could include (but are not limited to):

  • Audio/visual equipment for virtual meetings
  • High-speed Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Accessibility improvements to cater to all community members
  • Seating and other infrastructure improvements to create a welcoming and comfortable space
  • Power generator for use in emergency situations

Additional examples of the types of improvements that may be considered can be found here. We encourage applicants to think creatively about the needs of their spaces and communities, and we are open to exploring other innovative solutions that align with the project's goals.

Budget and Funding

With a total budget of $75,000 allocated from federal American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the project will focus on two spaces with a budget of up to $30,000 each, and three spaces with up to $5,000 each to ensure impactful and meaningful upgrades.

Stay Updated

For the latest updates on the project, including upcoming events, application details, and more, sign up for our newsletter using the form on this page. Have questions or need more information? Reach out to our project manager, Logan Smith, at lsmith2@ashevillenc.gov.

View past presentations and other information about the project below:

planned
planned
August-December 2024

Implementation

Executing the planned technological upgrades and enhancements in selected community spaces, alongside training and community orientation sessions.

 

planned
planned
Late July 2024

Inform Selected Applicants + Sign Agreements

Notifying successful applicants and finalizing agreements to kickstart the implementation phase.

planned
planned
July 2024

Evaluation and Selection Period

Careful review of applications based on established criteria to select community spaces for the project.

live
live
June-July 2024

Application Period

Open call for neighborhood organizations to nominate community spaces for technological upgrades and enhancements.

complete
complete
January-May 2024

Develop Application Process + Partner Agreements

Creating a streamlined application process and establishing foundational agreements with potential project partners.

complete
complete
November-December 2023

Environmental Scan + Initial Engagement

Gathering vital community insights and starting conversations with local stakeholders to shape the project's direction.

Frequently Asked Questions

A detailed evaluation process will consider factors such as climate-related and other socioeconomic factors impacting an applicant neighborhood, technological needs, accessibility and inclusivity plans, potential for community engagement, and overall alignment with project goals.

While the application process is for neighborhood organizations, individuals are encouraged to engage through community surveys, public forums, and by collaborating with local organizations in your neighborhood.

Selected spaces will undergo a planning and implementation phase, including technology installations and any necessary renovations, with community input throughout the process.

Success will be evaluated based on impacts such as community usage of the spaces, feedback from residents, and the effectiveness of the technology in facilitating hybrid meetings and emergency communications.

Yes, training sessions will be organized to familiarize community members with the new technology and ensure they can effectively participate in virtual meetings.

While the current focus is on five spaces selected from Asheville’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, the project's successes and learnings could lead to future expansion to other communities. Your feedback will be key to informing the future of this project.