Letter writer: Blaming visitors will not solve community’s problems

I have been reading more and more calls to make Asheville for locals, and it feels unnecessarily divisive. Who is a local? I moved here with my family in 1966 — but I’m not a native. Do you have to live here full time to be invited to enjoy this city? What about students at UNC Asheville or A-B Tech? Migrant workers? Street musicians? Vets who’ve come to get help at the VA and now have nowhere to go? Who do we make welcome? And who gets to decide?

I remember what Asheville was like in the ’70s and ’80s and even the early ’90s. When I graduated from school, most of us assumed we’d live elsewhere; there was no reason to stay. I love that bright and creative people now choose to come here. I like having great food, and great music, and independent businesses, and artisan bread makers, and craft brewers and young farmers. I think it’s wonderful that people come to Asheville and see that it is possible to have a community that isn’t “made in China.” And how many current Asheville residents fell in love with this city as Asheville tourists?

We do have challenges as a community — low pay, lack of affordable housing, older infrastructure, inadequate funding for arts and schools, to name a few. Blaming visitors will not solve any of them. I’m guilty of getting frustrated when I can’t get a table at a favorite restaurant on a Friday night, but I’m glad that my neighbors have sustainable businesses. We can make Asheville a great place for locals, while still welcoming visitors. We can afford to be gracious. We get to live here; they have to go home.

Karen Ramshaw

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2 thoughts on “Letter writer: Blaming visitors will not solve community’s problems

  1. Good letter. How ironic that Asheville progressives want to turn the city into the state’s largest gated community.

  2. Peter Robbins

    Who is a local? That’s easy. Pronounce the name of the city in which you live. If you didn’t say Eye-ish-ville, taint you.

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