Letter: The everlasting Pit of Despair

Graphic by Lori Deaton

After about five years of being one of Asheville’s main aesthetic statements, the Pit of Despair (the vacant lot across from the civic center) has become a hilarious hole, a guffawing gulley, the gravel graveyard of our progressive pretentions.

Do our millions of yearly visitors think it’s some kind of modern art? Maybe Rockpile Impressionism, a Christo creation or abstract nihilism? “How chic Asheville is,” says visiting Gertrude to hubby Harold. “Oh, I don’t know honey, at least back home, we put our stone quarries on the outskirts of town, not smack dab in the middle of it.”

The humiliating hole also shows tourists that our happy downtown facade camouflages a sad charade. They don’t know that the last two city elections have hinged in great part over whether to convert the property into a community-building pastoral park or another money-maximizing, rectangular flophouse.

If it’s fear of aggressive beggars that prevents our building a park, then let’s put a fence around it and charge a dollar to get in. Gramercy Park in New York City does something similar. Or we could pulverize the poverty the causes the fear.

But none of the options seem to ever happen. So the funny festering pit endlessly sits, loudly proclaiming Asheville’s political discomfit.

— Bill Branyon
Asheville

Editor’s note: After this letter was submitted, City Council approved a contract with landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz to develop up to three design alternatives for the city-owned properties at Haywood Street and Page Avenue. More info: avl.mx/6h5.

SHARE
About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “Letter: The everlasting Pit of Despair

  1. K Smith

    Hey, it’s Asheville! Decisions take at least a decade, three rounds of analysis at a couple hundred grand a pop and then a council appointed commission with a survey. We’re getting there…

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Housing the indigent in a fabulous new residential tower there is the highest and best use! Build it and they will come, city!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.