East Asheville is not known as the “hip” place to live in Asheville. It isn’t a historic district or what has been newly described as an innovation district, but it does have wonderful neighborhoods with over 20 percent of the population of the Asheville.
Despite these numbers, it has been ignored in many ways. We have less than 9 percent of the city’s sidewalks. The city Parks and Recreation Department leased out our community center without talking to the library staff, who used it for children’s programs. They also didn’t speak with the community associations, which used the space for meetings, educational and social programs and which now pay local churches to use their space. The city promised a Tunnel Road Corridor Study several years ago but has not followed through with it.
The county has also put East Asheville on the back burner. The East Asheville branch library has been on the county’s project improvement list since 2002 and has been bumped off that list several times. It is currently scheduled for the 2019 fiscal year. This 50-year-old library is the fourth-busiest in the system and is inadequate for the current needs in space and technology. The city owns the library building, so if the library is to remain in the same location, the city and county will need to work together to bring an updated library and community space to East Asheville.
The families of East Asheville deserve a new library, a community meeting space and a study of the Tunnel Road corridor to improve walkability, safety and to encourage new types of businesses for our citizens.
— Jeanie Martin