Updated Flatiron proposal to return to City Council
Developer Philip Woollcott and building owner Russell Thomas will make another appearance in front of Asheville City Council members on Tuesday, June 25, to gain approval for an updated version of the Flatiron Building project. The original plan would have converted the building into an 80-room boutique hotel with a rooftop bar, street-level restaurant, and basement speakeasy. The revised plan would still convert the building to primarily hotel use with 71 rooms but would maintain street-level retail and keep the second floor as office space.
Chris Bailey named as Asheville’s next police chief
After community input sessions, surveys and a nationwide search, City Manager Debra Campbell tapped Chris Bailey to head the Asheville Police Department starting July 29. The new chief will be relocating from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, where he most recently served as deputy chief of the Criminal Investigations Division.
Outdoor gear companies to hold French Broad River cleanup event
Outdoor apparel brand United By Blue is partnering with Diamond Brand, Frugal Backpacker and Asheville GreenWorks to host the French Broad River Cleanup on Saturday, June 22, from 9 a.m.-noon. Participants will meet at Salvage Station and spend the morning removing litter and debris from the riverbanks, and prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories. A party at Salvage Station will follow the event.
Asheville City Schools superintendent resigns
Superintendent Denise Patterson submitted her letter of resignation on June 12, citing medical reasons. She will receive two months of severance pay and take sick leave through Friday, Nov. 15. Effective immediately, the duties of the superintendent will be covered by Assistant Superintendent of Administration Mark Dickerson and Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services Terrence McAllister. The Asheville City Board of Education plans to vote on a contract for Bobbie Short to serve as interim superintendent beginning in July.
UNC Asheville Professor receives Fulbright Award to teach and research in Ghana
Agya Boakye-Boaten, chair and associate professor of Africana and interdisciplinary and international studies at UNC Asheville, received a 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to teach and conduct research over 10 months in Ghana at the University of Cape Coast. Boakye-Boaten plans to focus on “teaching about Africa in a way that shifts the narrative away from Eurocentric epistemologies,” according to a UNCA press release, and research how culture and traditional practices intersect with child labor and trafficking in Ghana.
Leadership Asheville’s Buzz Breakfast Series Begins June 20
Leadership Asheville, a program of UNC Asheville, will host the three “Buzz Breakfast” events in June, July and August at the Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville. Each session will feature panel discussions with a broad array of community leaders. The series kicks off on Thursday, June 20, with discussions from Kimberlee Archie, Rev. Amy Cantrell, Keynon Lake, Stephanie Monson Dahl and Darin Waters. The events are open to the public; tickets are $25 for an individual event and $60 for the series.
Buncombe County names two new assistant managers
On June 14, Buncombe County Manager Avril Pinder announced the selection of two assistant managers to round out her team. Sybil Tate, currently the assistant county manager of Person County, takes the position on Wednesday, July 10, while Dakisha Wesley, now the assistant county administrator of Lake County in Illinois, will join Buncombe’s staff on Monday, July 29.
New mural coming to Wall Street stairwell downtown
The Asheville Downtown Association Foundation is funding and managing the installation and maintenance of a mural that will be placed on the public stairwell connecting Battery Park and Wall Street. The project pilots a new city program that allows private investments in creative projects on public Asheville property. Muralist Ian Wilkinson was selected to complete the artwork, which will depict Catawba Falls.