SOCIAL SOLUTIONS: Senior Police Officer Doug Sheehan, along with others members of the Asheville Police Department Housing Unit, attend a Johnston Elementary School ice cream social. Local officers devote time and energy to socializing and trying to build relationships in the face of broad disillusionment in black communities. Photo courtesy of APD

Culture clash: Facing up to Asheville’s troubled police-community relations

The task of establishing and/or re-establishing trust between vulnerable communities — especially people of color — and the Asheville Police Department will be a challenging one. And especially in the wake of controversial police use of force over the summer, there is vocal criticism of the department. But the way Chief Tammy Hooper sees it, the APD must rise to that challenge.

SHARE THE ROAD: Big changes are on the way for the River Arts District in the coming years, as the city of Asheville and its partners get set to begin a host infrastructure improvements aimed at improving transportation into and around the RAD and upgrading multimodal options for pedestrians and cyclists. Photo by Max Hunt

Road to redevelopm­ent: Big infrastruc­ture upgrades on RAD’s horizon

Asheville’s rustic, arts-and-industry-dominated River Arts District is on the brink of a major transformation. From road realignment, sidewalk construction and expanded bike lanes to an ambitious network of greenways with the RAD as its central hub, substantial changes will be taking place over the next few years that will improve the way residents and visitors to the city access, explore and inhabit the area.

MAKING SPACE: Residents using Lyman Street and Riverside Drive over the next few months will notice work crews clearing trees and realigning utilities in preparation for construction affliated with the RADTIP project next Spring. Photo by Max Hunt

Cutting to the chase: What’s going on with tree removal in the River Arts District?

Residents commuting down Lyman Street and Riverside Drive have most likely noticed some serious changes to the tree line around 12 Bones. Work crews have been busy removing trees from the area, a project that is expected to continue through the fall. “I’ve been out of office almost 15 years, and I’ve gotten several calls […]

REACHING OUT: James Lee is working with the Racial Justice Coalition to build a bridge by which vulnerable communities can have input on they way they are policed. The formation of an unprecedented community policy work group seems to be a step in that direction. Lee initially contacted chief Hooper and other city leaders about putting together a work group. Photo by Able Allen

Asheville groups seek common ground on city police Use of Force policy

While July was marked by a series of protests, rallies and demands for changes to the APD’s approach to policing in the city’s marginalized communities — especially its 11 public housing neighborhoods — August saw a shift in tone, with the outline of a collaborative process arising out of discussions among the APD, City Council and a wide range of community groups convened by the Racial Justice Coalition.

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Zoning to be focus of Sept. 6 hearings before Asheville City Council

It’s been nearly four weeks since City Council last met. Five zoning requests dominate the agenda for Council’s Sept. 6 meeting. Notably absent from the proceedings will be a public hearing on proposed standards for screening electrical substations, a zoning ordinance amendment that has already been postponed many times. Council has been asked to advance the hearing date on that matter to Jan. 10.