With the multimillion dollar remodeling of the park in the center of Asheville, and an ongoing controversy about a disputed piece of property at the park’s edge, there’s been no shortage of news in the city’s heart. Now here’s a way to keep track of it: the new Mountain Xpress Web cam.
For weeks, Xpress has been exploring the possibility of pointing a Web cam at the magnolia tree, which has been at the center of a dispute over Buncombe County’s sale of a chunk of land to developer Stewart Coleman. George Pack donated that land to Buncombe County around the turn of the century, and Pack’s heirs sued Buncombe County and Coleman’s company, Black Dog Realty, declaring that the sale was illegal because the property had always been intended for public use.
On Monday, a judge heard arguments in the case, and Thursday, both sides said the judge planned to rule that the sale of the land was improper. The judge has yet to sign an order making her decision official.
Meanwhile, the park itself is a jumble of heavy equipment and hard-hatted construction workers. Known as City/County Plaza for years, the park that extends from the front steps of Asheville City Hall and the Buncombe County Courthouse up to the Vance Monument on Pack Square is getting a $22 million makeover and a new name — Pack Square Park.
All of which led us at Xpress to seek a way to document it all. Thus, the Web cam. With the gracious cooperation of Anthony Fiore, proprietor of Fiore’s Ristorante on College Street directly across from the action, an Xpress geek squad installed an ever-vigilant cyber-eye in a restaurant window and trained it on the park.
It’s all been done to keep you, Xpress readers, the most up-to-date on the happenings in the heart of Asheville. We hope you’ll watch with us.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor