Public to weigh in on Asheville budget Tuesday, May 23

Seal_of_Asheville,_North_Carolina

Asheville’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 23, will be all about the budget — except that it won’t. True, there will be a meeting before the meeting focused on the budget (a 4 p.m. budget worksession in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall), as well as a public hearing on the city’s proposed 2017-18 fiscal year budget. But other issues also found their way onto Council’s agenda, including temporary uses for city-owned property at Haywood Street across from the U.S. Cellular Center and Page Avenue on the former site of the Sister Cities building.

Proclamations

City Council will proclaim:

  • May “Lyme Disease Awareness Month”
  • June 2 “Gun Violence Awareness Day”
  • June 5-11 “Hemp History Week”

Consent agenda

Council will consider naming a creek that flows through the River Arts District and West End/Clingman Avenue neighborhood as Bacoate Branch. A staff memo explains the significance of the new name:

 

This name is in honor of Osie Bacoate, the matriarch of the Bacoate Family. She was a teacher, cosmetologist, business owner and community leader in the African American community. Her son, Matthew Bacoate, Jr., a community leader in Asheville, was the General Manager of AFRAM, a pioneer African American manufacturer that became the largest black-owned business in the history of Asheville. AFRAM was located in what is now the Wedge Building in the River Arts District. He is still alive today and lives in the WECAN neighborhood. His son also lives in Asheville. The Bacoate family is not opposed to this action. It is important to note that Thomas Clingman did not have heirs and there are no known citizens with the name Clingman in Asheville.

Council also will consider renaming the Clingman Forest Greenway as the Bacoate Branch Greenway. A staff memo quotes the WECAN neighborhood association’s statement on the proposed name:

 

Thomas Lanier Clingman, for whom Clingman Avenue, Clingman’s Dome and  this future greenway are currently named, was an attorney, NC State and federal representative and senator, and a pro-slavery, confederate army general. As WECAN represents a diverse, active and caring community, the WECAN Board feels strongly that the naming of this future greenway after one who supported the institution of slavery sends the wrong message to and about our community.

Furthermore, the staff memo continues, most greenways in Asheville have names that reflect natural features in the immediate area of the greenway, and the proposed name would follow this informal convention.

Council will consider a proposal to mount a plaque recognizing the work of James Vester Miller on the Municipal Building. Miller was a prominent African-American mason who contributed to the building in 1925-26. The request for the recognition was initiated by Miller’s granddaughter, Andrea Clarke.

Council will consider a resolution in support of the NC SB 85 and HB 102 ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the US Congress House Joint Resolution 53 to remove the deadline for ERA ratification.

A public hearing will be set for June 13 to consider a land-use incentive grant application from Kassinger Development Group for construction of affordable housing at 338 Hilliard Ave., the site of the former city Parks and Maintenance facility. Council previously selected another developer, Tribute Companies, to take on the project, and subsequently awarded Tribute a land-use incentive grant for its plans. The company has apparently withdrawn or been removed from the project.

Presentations and reports

Council will hear a report from Jade Dundas, interim director of the city’s new Capital Projects Department, on efforts to develop communication tools to help inform the public of the progress of bond and capital improvement projects.

Council will hear a report and vote on a design contract to develop upgrades to city playground facilities as part of the $17 million Parks and Recreation bond approved by voters in 2015. The total construction budget for the upgrades is about $1 million. Parks which are expected to be upgraded as part of this project include Herb Watts Park, Lakewood Park, Magnolia Park and West Asheville Center.

Plans for temporary uses for city-owned property at Haywood Street and Page Avenue will be presented for Council’s consideration.

Public hearings

Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2017-18 city budget, which will go into effect on July 1. Council is expected to vote on the budget on June 13. Complete budget information, including the proposed budget, is available here.

Council will hold a 4 p.m. budget worksession prior to the main meeting of City Council, which starts at 5 p.m.

Council also will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone a a portion of a lot located at Broadway Street and Magnolia Avenue from RS-8 Residential Single-Family Medium Density District to Neighborhood Corridor District.

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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