Reporter on the Street: What are the pros and cons of living in Asheville?

Top row, from left: Gary Krieger, Ashley VanderHeide Tisdale, Frank Lothschuetz and Peter Phillips. Bottom row, from left: Drayton Aldridge, Ashley Mosley and Alyce Mosley, and Zailey Tegge. Photos by Frances O'Conner

Most of us have opinions, but we don’t all have the time, energy or access to share our thoughts beyond our immediate network. In an effort to hear from more of our community members, we’ve launched “Reporter on the Street,” a new monthly feature where we hit the streets to speak with local residents about a variety of topics, big and small.

For our inaugural outing, we caught up with people in West and North Asheville, as well as the River Arts District. Below are the questions we asked and some of the highlights.

Be on the look out for us in the future, in a neighborhood near you.

What’s your biggest concern about Asheville right now?


“There’s a lot of trash everywhere. Most people don’t really clean up after themselves and place their trash where it belongs.”

— Zailey Tegge, model

Drug use and crime

“Homeless people are an issue because they cause problems everywhere. I have to deal with them at work,  trying to come in doors they’re not supposed to, breaking into cars in the parking lot. (The city and county) weren’t really doing anything about the homeless during COVID, so it went more wild. More drug use. I was going to work downtown and watching people right there in Aston Park shooting up drugs.”

— Joseph Kimrey, formerly homeless, chef

Lack of affordable housing

“The city could do more for affordable housing. The same thing that made real estate a good investment here priced  some people out of the market. They need to be accommodated, because so often they’re the people that work in the restaurants and make this such a cool place.” — Peter Phillips, homestay operator

Cost of living 

“The cost of living has gone up tremendously, and there aren’t jobs here that pay enough for most people to make that work.”

— Drayton Aldridge, musician

What do you love about Asheville?


“People are easier to talk to. I really like the Southern hospitality culture. You can wave to your neighbors. People will wave back.”

— Ashley VanderHeide Tisdale, Weaverville resident

Good food

“Some of the best Thai food I ever had outside of Thailand is right on French Broad Avenue — Little Bee Thai.”

— Gary Krieger, part-time resident


“It is very gay- and trans-friendly. And that’s a huge, huge plus.”

— Frank Lothschuetz, homestay operator


“I like that (my daughter’s) elementary school has small class sizes. They have great extracurriculars, and everybody who works there seems really motivated to make a difference.”

— Ashley Mosley, psychologist


“I just love it the way it is.”

— Alyce Mosley, 7-year-old

— Interviews by Jessica Wakeman, photographs by Frances O’Connor 


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About Jessica Wakeman
Jessica Wakeman is an Asheville-based reporter for Mountain Xpress. She has been published in Rolling Stone, Glamour, New York magazine's The Cut, Bustle and many other publications. She was raised in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from New York University. Follow me @jessicawakeman

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3 thoughts on “Reporter on the Street: What are the pros and cons of living in Asheville?

  1. kw

    Always great to hear a homestay operator chime in about affordable housing. Priceless.

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Transgenderism is the most serious mental disorder of our time.

    • Lou

      Also EE, how priceless that you claim a genuine condition is a mental disorder. People who think like you are the mentally ill ones, fascism, racism, and christian nationalism are NOT the flex you seem to think they are. Do better.

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