Made up of 18 community partners, the network would be convened and coordinated by the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County
Asheville has issued removal orders for camps at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Aston Park, along Cherry and Hill streets and at Riverbend Park near the Walmart Supercenter on Bleachery Boulevard in East Asheville.
Eventually, the city plans to use the land to revamp Deaverview into a “purpose built community,” which, according to the Atlanta-based nonprofit steering the national model, would help local leaders create “greater racial equity, economic mobility and improved health outcomes for families and children.”
A second reading of the amended ordinance could come before the commissioners for a vote at the board’s Tuesday, April 20, meeting.
“Whether you’re a private entity or are providing a public service, a 30-35% daily loss of staff is going to have a major impact on operations,” says Asheville Police Chief David Zack. “I think we’d be hard pressed to find another agency who is dealing with as many big challenges as we are.”
The new plan will include a hybrid model that will allow residents to either call in or attend commission meetings in person. In June, the public comment policy will shift entirely to in-person, eliminating the option for the public to call in to the meetings.
As the sometimes contentious discussions unfolded, members grappled with ambitious priorities for the upcoming year, and, perhaps more importantly, what their working relationships would look like for the next 18 months.
“[The funding is] intended to be a pandemic response; it’s not actually intended to end homelessness. It just is, happily, an opportunity for us to end homelessness, because that is also a response to the coronavirus,” says Emily Ball, homeless services lead for the city of Asheville.
The decision comes after a coalition of media outlets, including Mountain Xpress, took legal action to block the city of Asheville from holding a five-hour closed door meeting.
Of the various downtown bathroom options available prior to the pandemic, only the city-owned facility at 29 Haywood St. was available 24/7. Since it closed, unsheltered residents have very few options.
“It goes without saying that the protests were unprecedented in the city and for law enforcement officers nationwide,” said Asheville Police Chief David Zack. “Never before had APD encountered a protest where the emotional intensity was directed solely at the police.”
“I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.”
Removing Asheville’s Vance Monument will cost between $114,150 and $495,000, according to five bids submitted by North Carolina-based construction and demolition companies.
“The path we’re on right now is a collision that puts us backwards and actually takes classrooms offline,” said Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, regarding the Asheville City Schools plan to relocate preschool classrooms from Asheville Primary School to other elementary schools and Asheville Housing Authority developments.
The funds, equal to roughly a quarter of budgeted property tax revenue for the current fiscal year and more than its budgeted spending on general government administration, represent by far the largest pot of federal support yet provided to the county during the pandemic.
“Families of color have unfairly limited elementary school options for their children because the district is mandated to maintain antiquated racial quotas that were put into place 30 years ago,” writes Asheville City Schools Superintendent Gene Freeman.
In town known for a foul smell and a river that used to run black, the Canton paper mill has made strides in cleaning up, and jobs depend on the facility. But environmentalists say concerns persist.
Buncombe County would become the first local government in Western North Carolina to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance. Orange County and several municipalities have approved similar language after a statewide ban on such ordinances expired Dec. 1.
Asheville has contracted with consultants Shemekka Ebony and Christine Edwards to host six “equity-focused budget engagement” sessions for community members. The pair previously facilitated the city’s “Reimagining Public Safety” engagement efforts in the fall.
The charging station program, funded by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality from part of the state’s allocation in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal, partially defrays the cost of installing Level 2 infrastructure, which can recharge electric vehicles up to seven times as quickly as a standard 120-volt outlet.
Following a pair of votes for different methods of picking the school board at Council’s meeting of March 9, the final say on its composition now rests with the N.C. General Assembly, which must pass legislation to enact any change.