“The state of downtown Asheville,” an analysis by Joe Minicozzi

Asheville retail sales have grown rapidly in the last 15 years. How does Asheville compare with other North Carolina cities? Does Asheville get back from the state its fair share of the sales taxes it generates? How do those tax dollars get divided up between Buncombe County and Asheville? What is Asheville’s regional economic role, in Western North Carolina?

Here are some answers, analysis and opinions from Asheville Downtown Association’s Vice President Joe Minicozzi, who is an urban planner.

For more information on the Asheville Downtown Association, visit http://www.ashevilledowntown.org/

— Thanks to Scrutiny Hooligans for the links. http://scrutinyhooligans.us/2010/02/25/the-state-of-downtown/

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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7 thoughts on ““The state of downtown Asheville,” an analysis by Joe Minicozzi

  1. judi williams

    the presentation was very interesting and enlightening – the verbal explanations were easy to follow and the charting was both easy to interpret and a real eyeopener – I hope this presentation will be viewed by all the city and county officials

  2. Barry Summers

    Guy knows his stuff, right? You’d think we would want him on the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission. But no, Council voted to deny him once again, & instead gave that seat to the wife of one of Chris Peterson’s Deal Buick partners. Whatta town!

  3. Jeff Fobes

    Barry: The story of Minicozzi being passed up for a P&Z seat, as you say, will be reported by Xpress very soon, I’m told.

  4. Reid Thompson

    If the Asheville Citizen was a real newspaper they would have reported the passing over of Joe Minicozzi by Mayor Terry Bellamy, Jan Davis, Bill Russell and newcomer Esther Manheimer. This is unforgivable and shows you what kind of leadership they have. They don’t want anybody on any board that cannot tell what to do behind closed doors.

    I have personally experienced this behavior from Jan Davis in a noise board hearing that was fixed before it ever started. I was told after the hearing. “I’m just doing what Jan wants me to do.”

    Mr. Minicozzi is honest and has integrity therefore he was looked over by Council.

    Jeff, I for one want to know from each of these council members what makes Foster’s Shriners wife a better choice than community servant like Mr. Minicozzi.

    our city Council and city staff need a code of ethics they have to adhere to and that is ENFORCED.

    Cheers…>:O)

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