Letter: On improving downtown Asheville

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding “Homelessness, Safety Rank as Top Downtown Concerns,” March 16, Xpress:] The problems sound enormous and hopeless, and I’m an optimist. But some cities have found solutions.

But improvement is needed:

1. Homelessness — but if AVL is able to do much more, does that attract more homeless to AVL?

2. Stop hotel construction for five-10 years! If “Asheville” stopped spending millions yearly on advertising, then we’re certain that tourist clutter would lessen.

Thank you, [Asheville Downtown Association Executive Director] Meghan Rogers, and good luck on this.

— Alberto Colonia and George Hunker


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14 thoughts on “Letter: On improving downtown Asheville

  1. indy499

    Not allowing downtown hotels is the dumbest, most simplistic tactic I’ve heard.

    Hotels get built just outside the no hotel zone. Tourists stay there, drive and add congestion.

    Housing gets grabbed up for short term rentals to meet the demand since hotel supply is artificially restricted.

    • Virginia Ritter

      We need to stop all the hotels being build period within Buncombe County! The housing problem is not a result of short term rentals at all! We do not have the infra structure to keep building hotels downtown! Let’s face o
      It to keep paying the taxes our city council keeps raising people need help! So they rent out a portion of their homes. Why not make these tourists pay a few Pennie’s on the dollar to Asheville not to the tourist association that is just spending millions on advertising! We need real money to solve some real problems in this city!!! Motel Manhiemer must GO!!!!!

      • NFB

        ” Why not make these tourists pay a few Pennie’s on the dollar to Asheville not to the tourist association that is just spending millions on advertising! We need real money to solve some real problems in this city!!!”

        The city has no control over this. The state legislature is the only who can change the law so that Asheville gets a portion of the room tax.

        Or, Buncombe County Commission can cut the room tax, which would reduce the amount going to the TDA slush fund or abolish the room tax outright, but room any tax money going to the city is solely in the hands of the Republican legislature who has nothing but contempt Asheville.

        • Virginia Ritter

          Why not add a city tax to each dollar? With all the tourists destroying our city,leaving their carbon imprint! It’s time taxpayers get some relief! We have enough hotels! They do the residents of this city no GOOD! Taxes can’t get any worse. The high rents are going up with every tax increase!

          • NIMBY

            Last time I checked hotels need people called employees to work there. So maybe they do some good by creating jobs?

            But you are right. Let’s build a wall around the County or City and everything will work out. Keep the tourists out. After all, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

          • indy499

            Just silly VA. We have fewer hotel rooms downtown than we did 100 years ago.

          • Big Al

            The last time I saw anyone “destroying our city” it was local anarchists and activists along with invited out-of-town terrorists from BLM and Antifa, not tourists.

        • Phillip Williams

          To indy499’s comment: Do you have any idea of how different Asheville – and the entire United States – was 100 years ago?? A comparison of just about anything, particularly hotels and transportation, between 2022 and 1922 is, as you say, silly.

      • Enlightened Enigma

        Virginia Ritter your message is confusing…very confusing…do you vote?

      • MV

        How can you possibly state that the housing problem is not related to short-term rentals at all? Do you know how many long-term rentals have been converted to Airbnb, etc.? Every one of our problems relates somehow to tourism….

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    AVL is already a homeless magnet , hence the severe problems with no leadership nor solutions.

  3. Virginia Ritter

    Unfortunately there not jobs one can live on or be able to live in Asheville! Hotels are not required a living wage!

  4. Amanda

    On another note… lived here 10 years and I’m not sure who is in charge of tourism or working to keep downtown cleaned up. Or why is the town allowing homeless people to lay out in business doorways and in plain site in the busy store and main downtown area problem is as I’ve seen today and recently near the choclate fetish it literally smells like urine and feces around. There are dirty clothes strewn around and it’s clearly from these homeless trashing it. I am surprised and don’t know why this allowed especially in the downtown tourist area.

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