One clear winner from the 2015 City Council elections: local hopes for a public space for the city-owned lots facing the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center. Not so clear: exactly what kind of space Asheville needs and who will pay for it. The city’s Planning and Economic Development committee took up the hot potato issue to try to figure out how to move forward.
Supporters of a public park on the site of a city-owned lot across the street from the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center are gearing up to present 4,389 signed petitions in favor of a park at the Dec. 8 meeting of City Council.
“Alongside great people (which Asheville has in abundance), great architecture is the single most important social, cultural and economic asset a city can possess.”
“The three candidates for City Council who support that green space deserve our support — Brian Haynes, Keith Young and Rich Lee.”
“There are no one-size-fits-all solutions in planning: Each place is very different,” says Todd Okolichany, who began work as Asheville’s new planning director Sept. 8. “That’s a key value for me as a planner: recognizing the differences and uniqueness of each place.” Okolichany, 36, comes to Asheville from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was principal […]
“As for politics, I would never name my fellow candidates in an attack or participate in push polls or slates.”
“My conclusion: No matter what City Council decides to do with the city-owned property to the south, the basilica will survive and probably flourish.”
“After reading Rich’s open letter on why he supports the green space in front of the Basilica [of St. Lawrence], I believe that he has the financial savvy to help our city go forward without sacrificing our quality of life.”
“After reviewing questionnaires and interviewing candidates, the Sierra Club has endorsed Marc Hunt and Julie Mayfield for Asheville City Council.”
“I appeal for each candidate who has been endorsed by St. Lawrence Green to renounce any association, as this movement has created tensions and anxieties among those of us who demand of our Council members more than manipulating my Catholic church and the public image of the basilica.”
“Brian Haynes, Rich Lee and Keith Young have endorsed preservation of St. Lawrence Green as a public space. That’s one of many reasons I have endorsed them for Council. “
“A green space, for the use of all citizens and visitors, will enhance the beauty of this area rather than destroy it with yet another hotel and parking garage.”
“To not consider voting for [Julie Mayfield], based on only this one downtown green-space issue, strikes me as shortsighted.”
“Big spending for another full-scale park on the Haywood Street site would drain the city budget far more than the balanced use of the site favored by Marc and the majority of Council and would mean less money available for other priorities, such as sidewalks, greenways and non-downtown neighborhood improvements.”
The McKibbon Hotel Group will not develop city-owned property across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence. According to an announcement from the company, a lawsuit by other downtown hoteliers dragged on long enough that the project was no longer viable.
Amid packed chambers and a contentious public debate, Asheville City Council voted 4-2 earlier tonight, Sept. 11, to approve the $2.5 million sale of property on Haywood Street to the McKibbon Hotel Group. The company plans to build a 140-room hotel on the site, near the Basilica of St. Lawrence.
Follow live Twitter coverage as Asheville City Council moves toward a decision on the fate of Haywood Street property across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence.
At its meeting tonight, Sept. 11, Asheville City Council will decide an issue which has fueled months of debate: whether or not to sell city property across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence to the McKibbon Hotel Group. The public hearing on the matter is the only major item on Council’s agenda.
At an Aug. 7 informational meeting at the U.S. Cellular Center, the McKibbon Hotel Group laid out its plans for a hotel and plaza on city-owned property across from the St. Lawrence Basilica in downtown Asheville. The city is considering McKibbon’s proposal, but hasn’t endorsed or committed to any project yet.
The area that sits in the foreground of the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center (the renamed Civic Center) offers a rare opportunity (see “City Will Bring Forward Offers on Haywood St. Properties in March,” Feb. 21, 2012 Xpress). Representing a unique civic/religious convergence in downtown Asheville, this urban canvas, which includes […]
Photo by Derek Olson http://www.derekolsonphotography.com/
In addition to photographer Derek Olson, UNCA’s RENCI project is modeling, in 3D, the basilica and neighboring space in order to help Asheville decide how best to use a parcel of land directly in front of the historic building.