City Launches Fund to Keep Businesses Open During RADTIP Construction

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With the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP) underway, the City of Asheville is helping to support businesses near RADTIP construction in a variety of ways.

One way to support the vitality of this business district is a $25,000 City-designated fund to help keep businesses open during RADTIP construction. The RAD Vitality Partnership is 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 as part of this partnership.

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 meet monthly to review the needs of the district during construction.

The first priority for the district is installation of RAD wayfinding pole banner signs. Some 114 pole banner signs are being installed throughout the district as part of the collaboration. Area businesses raised more than $24,000 to support this initiative. The banners are designed to last through the construction project.

“The banners are helping with not only wayfinding but also beautification,” said Studio A artist Andrea Kulish, who designed the pole banners. “The banners show the breadth of artists in the district.”

The partnership will also fund a trolley for Second Saturdays and 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 in the RAD.”

The collaboration between partners for this project is making an impact.

“This collaboration 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 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 for 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.

(Prepared by the City of Asheville.)