Downtown trees gone for scaffolding

A little spot of nature in the middle of downtown Asheville disappeared Aug. 3, when four dawn redwoods and several euonymus “burning bush” plants were cut down with little fanfare. The greenery was located next to a parking lot behind the Asheville Hotel building—which houses Malaprop’s Bookstore, Zambra restaurant and some apartments—and was felled to make room for scaffolding needed to repair the Civic Center parking deck.

Foliage, farewell: (top) A photo of the trees and vegetation, taken last fall, before their removal. photo by Mary Mackintosh
Gone for now: (bottom) Scaffolding has replaced the row of trees and shrubs. photo by Jon Elliston

“This was a bad plan; you would’ve thought they could find a way to put the scaffolding around it so they could have kept some of the trees,” said Mary Mackintosh, a nurse who lives in the building’s apartments and has photographed the trees in various seasons. “They were so beautiful last fall, it’s a shame they cut these trees down.”

The move came without warning, she said. “I would have liked if they could at least have notified us.”

The area won’t be plant-deprived forever, according to Harry Weiss, urban-projects director for Public Interest Projects, the firm that owns the building.

“The county had to cut down those trees to put up the scaffolding so they could work on the deck and make their repairs,” Weiss said. “They’ve promised to restore all vegetation once their work is done.”

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