I have some thoughts regarding Buncombe County’s new business, Pratt & Whitney, a part of the Raytheon megafamily, one of the top defense contractors in our country.
But to be truthful, I’m worried. Thank you for promising average salaries of $68,000 a year. Thank you for being concerned about the gray bats, on whose behalf preparation for your new facility was rushed, so as not to disturb their habitats. You’re off to a good start.
Some of us are concerned, however, that we never knew whom this new manufacturer would be. All some of us knew was that Biltmore Farms was recruiting a blue-ribbon employer to the area. Great news for a community tired of tourism-related service jobs.
Most of us who value the uniqueness and beauty of our area didn’t even know that the floor was open for comments regarding a permit to build a five-lane bridge across the French Broad River, already under stress from contaminants in its historic waterway.
Many wonder why this new million-square-foot plant with more than 600 parking places had to locate on the grounds where Asheville forefathers George Vanderbilt, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and forester Gifford Pinchot combined forces to create a synergy that has since attracted millions to marvel at their creation and preservation.
Since their time, much of that land has welcomed the Blue Ridge Parkway, the North Carolina Arboretum and Bent Creek River Park. I would never have guessed that Biltmore Farms would develop 100 acres in this vicinity for a company that will build a massive aerospace-parts facility.
I doubt very much that activists in our area were notified of the comment period regarding the proposed bridge.
Now I have just two requests: 1. Please let the people of WNC know when additional comments will be accepted for new permit requests as the process moves on; 2. please don’t make this facility a place where equipment that is used kill people in other countries is manufactured.
So, welcome to Asheville. May we be neighbors who value building peace in this troubled world.
— Rachael Bliss