It was foreseeable: People stood in front of City Council and anyone who would listen, and shouted from the rooftops: “Stop” and, “This is not sustainable.” We camped out under the magnolia tree, we brought petitions, the economy gave a brief reprieve, but just.
So, along with COVID-19 comes the law of diminishing returns, a dozen high-end hotels, a brewery in every empty space, a new restaurant opening or two or three sometimes on the same block. A rubber-stamp City Council, the avarice of the developers and COVID-19 have created a perfect storm. Will Asheville, the city I fell in love with, recover in time to prevent irreparable damage? Past leadership decisions would suggest not.
Those businesses that survive should be stronger, and perhaps local leaders who were entrusted with stewardship of this “Paris of the South” will be replaced with leaders who understand that there must be a balance, a plan for the city and how it grows: No more unfettered growth, growth based on need, not greed.
Asheville will need to remake itself into a place that can survive these storms. How it does that will be interesting.
— Jesse Junior