Bothwell: New poll shows people don’t want a hotel on Haywood property

Here’s the message from Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell, sent via his email newsletter:

A new poll released today shows that most Asheville voters do not want to see a hotel on the city-owned property across from the Civic Center.

PARC PAC obtained a phone list of all Asheville voters who cast ballots in at least two of the last three City elections. That’s 8,713 consistently engaged voters: Unaffiliated, Republican & Democrat. We employed an automated phone polling company to conduct the survey. 40 percent favored a public park, 38 percent want to sell the land to the Catholic church and 13 percent favor a hotel on the site (the rest indicated “no opinion.”)

The poll was conducted after the Citizen-Times’ big front page story last Tuesday and McKibbon’s public presentation of its plan. So even after all of the persuasion the developers can muster, the public still opposes a hotel in that location.

A seven story hotel looming over the Basilica came in dead last among those who answered the question.

St. Lawrence Green would put a park where people are: going and coming from the Civic Center, the Church, the Grove Arcade, Pack Memorial Library, the Battery Park, and the Vanderbilt.

The church has said that it would use the property for parking for now and would sell it at a later date for development. … Some people are under the mistaken impression that the church wants the property for greenspace but that is not the case.

I believe it is time to withdraw the defunct deal the City offered McKibbon back in 2008 (they defaulted on their contractual promise to complete the project within 2-3 years). We need to rethink use of this space in line with citizen preferences.

-Cecil Bothwell
Asheville City Council

Here is the text used in the public opinion poll of Asheville voters, according to Bothwell:

“The first question is about the city-owned land across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence. Some people favor a hotel, others selling the land to the church for their development, and others favor a public park.

If you favor the McKibbon Hotel, please press 1

If you favor selling the land to the Diocese of Charlotte, press 2

If you favor a public park, press 3

If you have no opinion, press 4”

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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28 thoughts on “Bothwell: New poll shows people don’t want a hotel on Haywood property

  1. Nice poll. I answered it myself. Now let’s find out what percentage of city council members want a hotel and what amount of persuasion they can muster — or need to.

  2. C. Dennehy

    So I guess all the people that would be employed is not an issue? As far as I can tell Bothwell hasn’t had any good ideas to actually help this city.
    Maybe it’s hard to realize. More jobs means people have money to spend in there community, which means increased tax revenue, which means more money to better our community.

    It’s always nice to see people who don’t have to worry about money bash ideas or plans that would help people who do.

    • bsummers

      If you are insinuating that Cecil is wealthy, you clearly don’t know anything about him.

    • C Dennehy

      I am not. But I am saying he hasn’t done anything for this city that actually benefits the people of Asheville.
      Also the majority of people voted for Amendment 1, doesn’t mean it’s right.

  3. travelah

    OK, now a simple majority favor either building a hotel or selling the property to the church rather than having another park. Lets adhere to the wishes of the majority and determine which of the two alternatives are best for Asheville.

  4. Doug Sahm

    That poll was a joke. I got the call yesterday and it sounded like a child’s school project. The results are worthless.

  5. bsummers

    Wow, der Spinmeister is back. Hey, I can do that too:

    An overwhelming majority favor anything over a hotel. Let’s decide between selling to the church or creating a park.

    • travelah

      Sure … I am guessing those who favor a hotel would prefer to sell to the church rather than build another park.

  6. Dionysis

    An overwhelming majority of people who actually live here (vs. busybodies that don’t) favor anything over a hotel.

  7. c. dean

    I voted in the last 3 city elections. I didn’t get the call. I would have voted for the building of the hotel.

  8. Dionysis

    No need for a separate poll as long as one can add simple math. 13% of respondents want a hotel, the rest do not. I guess this 13% are “my people”, whoever that minority represents.

  9. Big Al

    My opinion would depend on what the church plans to do with the property. I am absolutely opposed to ANOTHER hotel, no matter how many LOW-WAGE jobs it would bring, and a park across from the civic center would just bring back the problem of vagrants hanging out on that corner again, like they did before the benches were removed from in front of the library next door (and like they do every day at Patton park).

  10. indy499

    Based on this logic we could get rid of the city council, who are supposed to LEAD, and just make all decisions by a poll.

  11. Big Al

    “Here is what the basilica has proposed – a low-rise multi-use commercial building, with most of the property a large open plaza…”

    I like it. It is the smartest of the three options, which means it will probably will not happen.

    “Based on this logic we could get rid of the city council, who are supposed to LEAD, and just make all decisions by a poll.”

    I am all for getting rid of THIS city council. Trained monkeys could do better.

  12. bikeman

    I would be afraid of someone erecting another hotel that looks like Aloft. That building blends in so well on Biltmore Ave.

  13. bsummers

    “PARC was founded by a guy whose primary purpose is to preserve his apartment view.”

    Not true. PARC was founded by a diverse group of people opposed to the Grove Park Inn condo project in Pack Square in 2003.

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