Letter writer: Lot across from Basilica must become park

Graphic by Lori Deaton

My wife and I attended a gathering in the ballroom on the 13th floor of the Battery Park Apartments across from the Grove Arcade. Both buildings, like many historic structures in Asheville, are stunning and attractive, enhancing an already spectacular skyline. We strolled outside to the rooftop gardens and saw the area below that was just demolished, where a park would fit in beautifully.

This park will enhance life for both those who live here and for the tourists who provide work for so many of us. The space across from St. Lawrence cathedral and the civic center must be turned into a beautiful and welcoming park. It cannot become another hotel or high-rise.

I watched PARC’s wonderful, two-minute video of downtown demolition, which (spoiler alert!) reveals a view of the dome of St. Lawrence at the end. It is powerful enough to have prompted me to write this letter. Maybe it will prompt you to do the same. Maybe we local folk can win one.

It seems that in City Council’s failed effort to sell to McKibbon Hotel Group some time ago, only [Mayor Terry] Bellamy and [Cecil] Bothwell voted with us. Thank goodness the sale fell through, and we now have an opportunity to preserve some open space in downtown.

The three candidates for City Council who support that green space deserve our support — Brian Haynes, Keith Young and Rich Lee.

Corporate interests have already grabbed our civic center. We don’t have to give them this open space as well. Let’s make a park that our great-great-grandchildren can stroll in with their grandchildren.

— Stuart Zitin
Asheville

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4 thoughts on “Letter writer: Lot across from Basilica must become park

  1. The Real World

    Here we go with another very myopic, simplistic viewpoint.

    What I like to do is just listen (in this case: read) to exactly what people say. It generally reveals their motives.
    The letter writer is talking about himself, his wife, his kids, his grandkids — get the picture?

    We have a city with many people and we also have MANY issues to be dealt with. Asheville needs a lot of road repair; there are some very bad sections on streets all over this city. How about we talk about that for awhile?

  2. NFB

    ” It cannot become another hotel or high-rise.”

    Repeat after me: FALSE CHOICE.

    This is NOT a simple, either or matter and there is a whole swath of options in between a park and another hotel or high rise. But for some reasons supporters of a park can’t seem to frame it all in any other way.

    I am not unsympathetic to the notion of a park in this area, but this constant insistence that the only alternative to a park is a hotel or high rise is a major, major turn off.

  3. donathan_white

    A park is nice thing and you can’t really argue otherwise, but it isn’t a very logical option for that space due to the cost. I agree though that the Battery Park Apartments and Grove Arcade, and also the St. Lawrence church itself are three very stunning and attractive buildings. I don’t see why a fourth stunning and attractive building couldn’t be built near those structures as well. It’d be a better use of everyone’s effort to concentrate on influencing what will inevitably be built there.

    • Rylin Mariel

      I am an elderly person who lives in the Battery Park, and there are more elderly people living in the Vanderbilt. Another large building, even if it’s not a high rise, is only going to hurt elderly people and the disabled who live in these buildings. Of course, I’ve been told, that our interests are not as important as continued growth. Of course I’m self-interested, but I question the determination of lesser value of elderly and disabled persons. I think if we are really going to make a difference financially for this city, we need to keep half of the hotels taxes for our city – road and sidewalk maintenance, etc. We need to loosen Chamber of Commerce’s stranglehold on the development direction for Asheville. All the money that goes to them is directed to promoting more and more tourism will destroy the unique quality of Asheville. Unless, of course, we actually ACTUALLY WANT to become the Atlantic City New Jersey of the Appalachian Mountains!

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