Black Mountain town square will get a pavilion

Fred McCormick

The piece of land that dramatically changed the appearance of Black Mountain’s downtown will itself look a little different in the coming weeks.

On March 14, the board of aldermen voted unanimously to approve a budget amendment for the money to build a pavilion on town square near the splash fountain and restroom building.

The original design for the property included a large covered space. But feedback from the community indicated that a small, 16-by-20-foot structure would work better, according to John DeWitt of the town square committee.

“One thing that we picked up from last summer from parents is that they would like some shade next to the splash fountain,” DeWitt said. “They wanted a place to be able to sit while they watch their kids play.”

The town square committee recommended to the board of aldermen that the park retain as much open land as possible, and a pavilion would serve the needs of the people who use the space. Alderman Don Collins, who was a key part of the construction of the town square, will oversee the project scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks.

“We’re hoping to get it done before we open up the Rotary fountain for the kids,” Collins said. “We don’t want to be working around there once that’s in use.”

The structure is designed to look much like the Craftsman-inspired restroom facility, minus the four walls.

“We’re going to have rock work like what is on the restroom building, that slants in from the bottom and tapers up to the top,” Collins said. “The posts will be encased, similarly to the restrooms and we’ll have the same kind of arms that look like they’re supporting it. It will mirror the restroom building completely.”

The town will be reimbursed for the project by the town square committee. DeWitt said the money for the pavilion was raised prior to construction.

In a separate item, the board also approved a use policy for the town square. The 17 rules for the park include hours of operation, regulations for animals and a policy banning solicitation on the property. The complete list will be posted at the town square.

The board also voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that prohibits the carrying of weapons on town property.

“There are certain exceptions, and those are listed in the ordinance,” town manager Matt Settlemyer said. “The primary goal is to keep handguns and weapons out of public buildings.”

Additionally, the town passed a resolution to demolish a structure at 204 Portman Villa Road, an action that mayor Michael Sobol said the board did not “enter into lightly.”

“I refer back to a gentleman that used to have The Black Mountain News, Mr. Gordon Greenwood, who was a legislator in Raleigh for years,” Sobol said. “He was a big advocate of property rights. One of his favorite sayings was, ‘A man’s home is his castle, and if he wants to live like a hog, then he can live like a hog. But it’s got to be safe and sanitary.’

“This place is not safe, and there is the reason that we are taking this action.”