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Asheville's Pack Square Park Nears Construction



5/21/2008 - Asheville's Pack Square Park Nears Construction

The Pack Square Conservancy got some good news Wednesday: A long-awaited $7.5 million contract on construction of Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville will likely be signed this week.

Once the deal with Valley Crest Landscape Design Inc. is inked, construction should be in full gear by early to mid June, according to Mark Durbin, the owners representative for the Pack Square Conservancy. Durbin said the contract was in the process of being updated and then forwarded to Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson for his signature.

The start of construction will be a milestone in a project that has been marked by setbacks and rising costs, and theres been controversy over design elements in the park. The Pack Square Conservancy was formed in 2000 by an agreement with it, Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. The conservancy was given the authority for overseeing the planning, design, fundraising and construction of the 6.5-acre park.

The board of local leaders broke ground at the site in 2005. Last year, the conservancy said the project was expected to cost $17.5 million. At the conservancys meeting Wednesday, the board said the cost was expected to be $22 million.

At the meeting Wednesday, conservancy board members expressed concern about the constructions impact on local businesses in the area. The board is planning a meeting later this month to explain details of the construction to business owners.

Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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