The Asheville Downtown Association held an informal ceremony to announce installation of its long-awaited donation drop boxes — the first tangible evidence of its “Spare Change for Real Change” campaign — on Monday afternoon.
ADA President Dwight Butner and Mayor Terry Bellamy were on hand to kick off the charitable-giving program by dropping a few bucks into the newly installed collection box at the intersection of Haywood and College streets, across from Pritchard Park. The black box sits astride a steel post similar to those used to support parking meters. Posts for the first five collection boxes were installed by the city of Asheville and the boxes were fabricated by a local welder.
“This is a generous city,” Butner remarked. “We want to reduce panhandling but not hurt poor people in the process.” He said that new posters and brochures will be distributed to downtown businesses and charitable organizations on Wednesday, July 11, to help spread the word. Butner explained that his organization had set up a tax-exempt foundation to handle proceeds and would challenge downtown businesses to match all donated funds. He also thanked the city for its help with the project.
Bellamy observed that the project was the result of “a true partnership between the city and local merchants and citizens,” and acknowledged the hard work of the committee that had hatched the plan four years ago. (See “From Handcuffs to Helping Hands,” Jan. 22, 2003, Xpress)
Other boxes are located in Pack Square, at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Walnut Street, in front of the Asheville Civic Center and in front of Barley’s Taproom on Biltmore Avenue.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer