Infrastructure issues front and center as West Asheville has its say

With a high turnout for an Asheville City Council community meeting, West Ashevilleans told their elected officials about their concerns, including the impact of a future Interstate 26 connector and the need for better infrastructure in the area.

About 70 people showed up to Hall Fletcher Elementary. City staff informed them about improvements to the area, including $1 million in sidewalks and $2 million in water lines upgrades. The city also plans to use West Asheville as the first place to roll out a form-based code, a type of planning that regulates on the physical form of a building rather than its use, and that planners believe will provide greater predictability and flexibility in developing the area.

Vivian Conley, head of the Burton Street Community Association, called uncertainty about the I-26 connector “a looming cloud” that prevents the neighborhood from moving forward. The area also needs sidewalks, she noted, as their only one dates back to the days of desegregation. Representatives from other areas noted a lack of traffic calming measures or the disrepair of their roads as important issues, and that concerns about the impact of the coming New Belgium brewery still remain.

Unfortunately, the city is on an 80-year cycle of replacing its roads, something Council member Gordon Smith attributed to a lack of support from the state and constraints on how the city can gather revenue.

Bill Rhodes, of West Asheville Watch, a group that started with online conversations about fighting crime in the area, noted that none of the citizens had complained about crime issues; a big change from just a year ago.

West Asheville’s array of community groups was praised by Council and Mayor Terry Bellamy, who credited them as playing a major role in the area’s revival. Bellamy remembered that she used to bristle when people called the area “Worst Asheville.” Now, she never hears the term.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.