Letter: Haywood Street sidewalks need attention

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

As a resident of Haywood Street for almost three years, I have become increasingly concerned about the deplorable condition of the sidewalks on Haywood Street. Crumbling tiles have caused people to stumble and fall, causing real harm. Since I walk these sidewalks every day, I’ve become acquainted with the worst of the spots and know to avoid them, but what about the poor tourists?

We voted to approve the bond issue to remedy this situation, yet nothing has been done unless you consider that the city sends a crew to ridiculously “patch” the spots with what looks like spackling compound. Then along come [contractors] with their high-pressure washers causing the “patches” to crumble, making sidewalks even more dangerous!

The walks in front of the library are extremely bad as are the ones across the street and continuing around to the entrance of the Haywood Park Hotel. I cannot understand why the city will not address this issue with a permanent solution since these are some of the most heavily trafficked by tourists in the city! They and local residents deserve better. It is shameful. A very bad spot in front of the library is a crumbling curb where the N3 bus stop is located. Step off the bus, and this is what you are faced with.

I have made three trips to City Hall, leaving a note and then a letter and will continue to make a nuisance of myself until they give me the courtesy of a response.

— Martha Bille
Asheville

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted the city, and Asheville Public Works Director Greg Shuler offered the following response: “I’d like to respond to your reader’s concerns about the condition of the sidewalk on Haywood Street. That section of street and sidewalk was identified as a project in the bond referendum package Asheville voters approved in November. Currently, we have $815,000 budgeted for the planned work, and it is scheduled for construction beginning in 2019-2020.

“The scope of work includes upgrades to the sidewalk, stormwater infrastructure and resurfacing the street. We are coordinating with all of the other utilities that are located in the area to assure we are all working towards the same goal.

“The city is also working closely with the various community stakeholders to incorporate their input on the process. These types of outreach should minimize the disruption and increase timely communication required for a major construction project like the one planned for this corridor. A larger community engagement is planned well in advance of this work.

“Because of the condition of the sidewalk, our contractor responsible for cleaning the sidewalks has modified their methods in this area to minimize the damages that your reader identified. If damage to the sidewalk occurs due to cleaning, the responsible crew is notified to make the repairs.”

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