The Asheville Downtown Association will meet with city of Asheville staff and elected officials Oct. 21 to discuss a number of issues that “can no longer be overlooked,” according to an email to its members. The issues include trash, recycling, street sweeping, panhandling, transients, drugs and topless women.
“We wanted to make you aware of some work we have been doing behind the scenes to keep our Downtown vibrant, clean and safe,” the email from ADA President Adrian Vassallo reads, noting an Oct. 11 meeting between Vassallo, ADA issues chair Byron Greiner, “almost all senior city staff,” Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce President Kit Cramer, and Stephanie Brown of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We had been working together to push the City to address several issues that we see as significantly impacting our Downtown,” the message continues, before pointing to an attached list of the issues and “some proposed solutions.”
Some of the issues are infrastructural in nature, such as the need for better trash and recycling throughout the downtown area, as well as sidewalk cleanup. According to the list, a contract for the latter was delayed due to the time and management required to deal with landslides due to heavy rains this summer.
Some of the other issues, however, tagged under “safety,” include drugs in Pritchard Park (the document notes that the police recently made seven arrests in an attempt to “to curb illegal drug sales and use), transients, and panhandling.
Another concern of the ADA is female toplessness downtown, something not currently against the law, but which Council members have noted in meetings recently is a source of complaint from some downtown business owners. State Rep. Tim Moffitt introduced a bill to ban female toplessness (specifically nipples) in public, and Asheville City Council had earlier called for a change in state law to allow them to stop the annual topless rally. But the bill never advanced during this year’s legislative session, and the so-called “nipple ban” became the target of some mockery.
The message also notes a meeting at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 in the sixth floor conference room on the floor of City Hall to discuss these issues, and that in addition to senior staff, “many of City Council will also be in attendance.” Vassallo asks ADA members to send their concerns in so they can bring them to city officials