Last week at Asheville’s George Washington Carver Park, four mature apple trees and a chestnut tree were cut down by the city without any communication with the park’s contractual partners or general notice to the public.
Apparently these cherished food-bearing trees are to be replaced by overhead lighting to address “safety concerns regarding camping and illicit activities.” Several more mature fruit and nut trees are at risk of being removed to complete this plan.
This destruction of public property completely contradicts the Food Action Plan, adopted by City Council in partnership with the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council, and the value city residents place on public edibles. A recent petition to protect the fruit trees at the Montford Recreation Center generated nearly 1,000 signatures on Change.org. That was only a few months ago — apparently the city didn’t get the message?
It is completely possible to design a security lighting system that does not destroy the integrity of this space and that would not require the removal of trees. The current lighting plan is neither an effective way to deal with the serious issues Asheville faces around housing access and drug addiction, nor an appropriate management plan for one of the nation’s oldest edible parks. It is merely is the best Duke Power could offer, so of course the city took it.
Let’s have an open, public forum to generate some real, creative solutions, something the city appears incapable of doing, and let’s have some accountability, transparency and communication from our city government.
— John Buscarino