A cleaner and greener Asheville will be a better one. That was a large part of the message delivered by Mayor Terry Bellamy in her Oct. 16 State of Downtown speech before the Asheville Downtown Association.
According to a summary provided by the mayor’s office, Bellamy pointed to initiatives undertaken by Asheville City Council during the past year to make the city’s downtown district tidier while making it more environmentally sound.
Approaching her two-year mark as mayor, Bellamy has consistently pleaded with Asheville citizens to not litter and helped usher in litter-pickup events. At this luncheon event, held in the banquet hall of the Asheville Civic Center, she also spotlighted work downtown that targets larger social issues.
Those projects include new public restrooms that will soon open on Haywood Street, a new ranger to supervise Pritchard Park and her proposed graffiti-response policy that would quickly removes fresh work by graffitists.
Both the new ranger and the restrooms, she said, are meant to curb delinquent behavior—like public urination—that has gotten drawn negative attention from citizens, downtown businesses and tourists.
To strengthen Asheville’s green factor, the city needs to be more accessible to pedestrians—be they residents or tourists—she suggested. For example, she mentioned the need for sidewalks as well as green spaces and parks like the Pack Square and City/County Plaza renovations that are underway.
Bellamy also noted that the city has begun long-needed roof repairs at the Civic Center while adopting environmental standards for all new public buildings. But, she added, downtown has more infrastructure needs to accommodate the daily swell of visitors; downtown’s daytime population is 50 percent larger than its residential one, she noted.
Making additional repairs and upgrades to both the Civic Center and downtown parks may require a bond issue by the city, Bellamy noted, saying it’s a move she expects to push City Council to approve within the next year.