[Regarding “Can Asheville Stay Weird? Businesses Try to Maintain Uniqueness Amid City’s Rapid Growth,” May 24, Xpress:]
Having grown up in Greenwich Village in the ’70s, full of quirky little family-run shops, I see Asheville heading down the same road. Now when you go to the Village, it’s a Starbucks, bank and drugstore on every single street. How many of those do you need? Where are the fun record shops, the cozy restaurants and the Italian family grocery store that I grew up frequenting? All gone, in the name of “progress.”
Money talks, so none of this is a surprise in what’s happening to Asheville. What does surprise me is how openly the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority rushes headlong into grasping for the new and shiny, instead of supporting and encouraging the delightfully unique that is already there.
We still have time to change things, but it will take a focus on building on what we have, not tearing down the old for the new. Will we ever learn?
— Lisa Wagoner