Photo by Max Cooper
Concerns about infrastructure and receiving a fair share of city services took center stage at tonight’s Asheville City Council community meeting in Shiloh.
About 30 people showed up at the Shiloh Community Center to hear presentations from city staff and voice their concerns.
Rev. Spencer Hardaway of Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church said he was concerned that the Rock Hill Road area in particular doesn’t receive the same level of city services as other neighborhoods, and that the streets are due for repaving. A number of residents, from other areas of South Asheville as well as Shiloh, had concerns about the need for sidewalks, bus shelters, and road improvements. One man said he respected the city government, but worried they weren’t prepared for the challenges of the next decade, including climate change and the lack of jobs for the younger generation.
Public Works Director Cathy Ball noted that one example of the city’s limited revenues is the fact that while roads should be repaved every 20 years according to state standards, Asheville only repaves its roads on average every 80 years. In a presentation at the beginning of the meeting, Assistant City Manager Jeff Richardson noted that Asheville’s high daytime/nighttime population ratio and decreasing share of sales tax revenue.
Mayor Terry Bellamy asserted that the city faces hard choices next year about its level of services, given that the current level of revenue isn’t enough to support what Ashevilleans demand. She added that partnerships with the county and UNCA were stronger than they’d ever been, but that some state legislators simply don’t want to work with the city to improve its situation.
On a less stark note Sophie Dixon, president of the Shiloh Community Association, said the neighborhood has made significant strides in calming traffic, improving affordable housing, and accomplishing projects like a community garden and festivals.