The Create 72 Broadway hotel proposal should be denied by the City Council at the Tuesday, Sept. 10, meeting. I encourage residents to come to Council to ask that they do not approve. I am a vendor at Asheville City Market and have been for the last 10 years since it opened. I also serve as a volunteer on the Oversight Committee for the ACM. My farm, Green Toe Ground farm, sells at ACM and at other Asheville farmers markets, as well as to multiple Asheville restaurants.
While we are a Yancey County farm, we sell exclusively within Asheville. In 2018, Asheville City Market accounted for more than 30% of our farm income. Losing that income would be significantly damaging to our farm and our family. This is definitely true for most ACM vendors as well.
ACM’s impact on our food community goes beyond serving as a vibrant retail outlet for current vendors. It aligns with the city of Asheville’s desire to increase food access in urban areas. Many residents walk to our market to stock up on the week’s groceries. This market was created because many newer farmers were locked out of existing markets due to capacity. This market has opened up access to farmers, especially beginning farmers, who can then have a solid and reliable income. I know we have a significantly higher number of new and beginning farmers than other markets, a fact that is critical to the growth of farmers and farms since the established farming populations keeps getting older and older.
I attended the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting where the developers of Create 72 Broadway expressed a seemingly genuine desire to support and work with ACM organizers to find a solution that allows the market and the hotel project, not only to both survive in the same location, but to complement one another. At the same time, the developer and commission did not seem clear on the market’s actual footprint, economic impact, nor history, nor have they brought any proposals or solutions to us since that meeting.
Given the high number of other similarly unique hotel developments already underway in our community and given the negative impact that this project will have on the market, I am vehemently opposed to its approval at this time. I urge City Council not to approve this project. It is my heartfelt opinion that Create 72 Broadway, as currently proposed, would be the death of Asheville City Market.
It is time the city of Asheville made a clear commitment to the food producers serving your city’s residents. Asheville is not alone in being known for its thriving food community and culture; however, other cities in our region recognize the benefits of providing food access within their cities by having dedicated city-funded spaces for their farmers market events.
I urge you to make that kind of commitment to Asheville’s vibrant farmers market community, not just with your words, but by dedicating the financial resources and human resources necessary to create that reality. Farming is one of the hardest professions already to succeed at, and reliable and vibrant markets are critical to the economic success of our farms. The Create 72 project will severely alter if not decimate that possibility at Asheville City Market.
I ask city residents, foodies, farm advocates, producers and small business owners to show up on Sept. 10, at City Council to oppose Create 72.
— Nicole DelCogliano and Gaelan Corzine
Green Toe Ground farm
Editor’s note: Asheville City Council’s Tuesday, Sept. 10, agenda calls for a public hearing on the conditional rezoning of three parcels for the construction of the Create 72 project.