Asheville City Council member Brownie Newman, a staunch advocate of the Asheville Design Center’s I-26 connector proposal (aka alternative 4b), says a county resolution in support of any other plan would undercut the weight of the City Council’s endorsement of 4b.
In January, Council voted 6-1 to support the 4b proposal. While that vote does not oblige the DOT to go with 4b, it did give the alternative added momentum on its way to being included in the department’s environmental-impact study.
Now, with Buncombe County commissioners poised to make a recommendation of their own — and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce already having signed off in support of alternative 3 — Newman says an endorsement of anything but 4B sends the message that the community is divided over the I-26 issue. That message, he said, is at odds with the community support surrounding 4b.
“If the city and county are making different resolutions on what the community wants, it sends a very mixed message to the DOT,” Newman said. “It makes it more difficult to advocate for getting something done sooner rather than later.”
Newman added that the Chamber made its decision without hearing from the Asheville Design Center, which he considers a glaring omission.
“It seems crazy to me,” Newman said. “My understanding is that the Asheville Design Center was not invited to present any of their information during that decision making process.”
***NOTE: This week Xpress reported here on the demolition of Burton Street homes if altervative 3 is chosen by the DOT.***
— Brian Postelle, staff writer