The River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP) is in the works! The River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project is a City of Asheville multi-modal transportation project that includes the installation of sidewalks, street trees, public art, bike lanes and greenways in the River Arts District, adjacent to the French Broad River. With the mass amounts of construction that is happening in the district, there were points of concern to the business owners in the area. However, the City of Asheville is providing multiple structures of aid to businesses near RADTIP construction in a multitude of ways.
One of the ways the city is showing support to the vitality of this business district is a generous $25,000 City-designated fund to help keep businesses open during RADTIP construction. The RAD Vitality Partnership is an alliance between the City of Asheville, the River Arts District Business Association and the River Arts District Artists Association. Explore Asheville is also hosting a website at www.explorerad.com as part of this partnership. All this work is being done as a collaboration. Members of the River Arts District Artists Association (RADA), the River Arts District Business Association (RADBA) and the City of Asheville have organized monthly meetings to review the needs of the district during this construction process.
The first priority for the River Arts District was the installation of RAD wayfinding pole banner signs. 114 pole banner signs were installed throughout the River Arts District as part of the collaborative support. Area businesses came together to raise more than $24,000 to fund this initiative. The banners are designed to last through the construction project and hopefully until summer of next year.
“The banners are helping with not only wayfinding but also the beautification of the area,” said Studio A artist and graphic designer Andrea Kulish, who designed the pole banners. “The banners show the breadth of artists in the district.” The partnership is also funding a free trolley for the Second Saturday events held every second Saturday of each month as well as the staff 14 Riverside Drive Arts and Culture Center every Saturday during the community-wide Summer of Glass extravaganza happening from now until mid-October.
“The traffic these efforts are generating has been really positive,” said 310 Art studio owner Nadine Charlsen. “We’ve had a lot more local people visiting the RAD.” The collaboration between partners for this project is really making an impact. “This partnership during RADTIP sends the message that we are open for business during construction,” said RADBA President Dave Campbell. “The community engagement has been fabulous for this project and everyone from artists, business owners, the City and other partners have all worked together.”
Designed as a business district development exercise, both RADBA and RADA are working together as a team for the benefit of the district. “In the past, the district hasn’t always come together. But, this has been a great opportunity to use this partnership to bring everyone together for the greater good of the River Arts District,” said River Arts District Artist Association (RADA) President Chalkley Matlack.
The pole banner initiative has the potential to evolve as a method to support businesses past RADTIP construction. “The opportunity to build the wayfinding component for the RAD at a time that will influence the permanent wayfinding is really exciting,” said Curve Studio owner Pattiy Torno.
For more information about the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project visit the RADTIP project webpage on the City of Asheville website.