Letter: City needs to keep camping out of parks

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Camping in city parks is just not sustainable.

The city of Asheville needs to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on camping in city parks. It is not sustainable, is unsanitary and just plain does not work.

The Blade recently shared a hyped-up tale about brutal tourist camper evictions from city parks. Exactly how many ways can this rhetoric be wrong? The people affected by the Aston Park camp were public housing residents and local “gentry,” which consist of legacy residents who have lived in Southside since redlining, young couples putting in hours of sweat equity to fix dilapidated homes and people fortunate enough to be able to hang up their boots after 50 years working difficult jobs with long hours. Residents trying to survive and cope with COVID limitations, dwindling savings, rising taxes and unsafe conditions on the street. This has absolutely nothing to do with tourists.

The Asheville Police Department is unfortunately tasked with the unsavory job of distributing eviction notices; it is their job. The pretend medical table, set up in Aston Park for the photo ops and article, was cute; where has this effort been for the past eight or more years for all the homeless people camping down by the river?

If you want to help the homeless, go to the camps behind the big-box stores and on Murray Hill; they could sure use your help. Take one camper into your home and let them use your shower and bathroom; give them one meal. Maybe drive them to the store to get supplies?

APD arrested some protesters who made a situation where there should not have been one. APD did not rise to their baiting. Residents also helped pick up the trash and needles the following days, but most of the work was done by city employees.

We are grateful to the city of Asheville and the City Council for taking decisive action and trust they will keep their word, not squander the money, and create long-term options and solutions.

— Helen Hyatt


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One thought on “Letter: City needs to keep camping out of parks

  1. RWD

    Thanks Helen for your comments. I am one of the residents of South French Broad and am grateful to be able to enjoy my daily morning walk through Aston Park…without the undue anxiety of dodging tents and / or people sleeping in the greenway.

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