In its newsletter, the Asheville People Advocating Real Conservancy (PARC) takes a stance on the proposed hotel near the Basilica of St. Lawrence. The letter references local history about similar proposals to sell the land in front of the basilica, and urges people to sign a petition that will run as an ad in local newspapers. The full letter can be viewed below:
From the Asheville PARC newsletter:
The City of Asheville is considering selling the land in front of the Basilica of St. Lawrence to McKibbon, a Georgia hotel chain. Widespread public opposition has met such plans in the past.
In 2004, the City bought the land, and Mayor Charles Worley pushed for a plan to put a high-rise in front of the Basilica and a parking deck wrapped around the Battery Park building.
This was so unpopular that Worley lost his re-election bid, and Council withdrew the plan.
In 2008, Council put forward the McKibbon plan. This time, residents put a full page ad in the Citizen-Times signed by more than a thousand people asking Council to put a park there.
In 2009, the Basilica held a demonstration of parishioners and residents to protest the planned high-rise, saying that the proposed hotel would diminish the Basilica and that heavy construction might damage the beautiful hundred-year-old church.
Many residents think the area should be green space. A park would visually connect the Basilica, the Grove Arcade, the library, and the Civic Center. Trees would add shade and a human dimension to the area.
Will Council listen to MccKibbon, or to the residents?
Council didn’t pay for that land. Your tax money did. Council should take the opinion of Asheville residents into account.
If the aim is to increase tourism, wouldn’t a gorgeous spot of trees be more attractive than more concrete and steel?
A luxury hotel would primarily benefit just one corporation, which would get one of the most desirable sites in Asheville for a bargain price.
A luxury hotel would be used by just a few, while a park would serve the needs of ALL the Asheville residents, as well as tourists.
Too often, our City’s decisions support the desires of corporations over the needs of residents. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can help.
Please follow the links below and email City Council or write a Letter to the Editor, or download the petition for City Council and collect signatures. This is a critical time for City Council to hear your opinion.
Thanks for everything you do,
from the folks at PARC.