Letter writer: South Slope trees should be preserved from development

About 70 trees are scheduled to be cut down in the South Slope neighborhood to make way for a new apartment building. Courtesy of Inge Durre

A stand of about 70 tall, beautiful old trees on the South Slope of Asheville is in danger of being removed. It is one of the last, if not the very last, undeveloped wooded areas in this part of downtown.

The trees are tall enough that you can see them from various vantage points several blocks away, including from the intersection of Patton and Coxe avenues, overarching the surrounding tall buildings. The trees provide valuable green space to this up-and-coming part of town, and they serve as a habitat for songbirds that entertain passers-by and residents of neighboring apartment buildings with their beautiful melodies.

The trees are projected to be felled to make room for a six-story, 48-unit apartment building, including a two-level, partially underground parking garage. The proposed building would take up almost the entire lot, propped up by two-story-high retaining walls replacing the wooded slopes on the west and south sides. This will be an irreversible act and an irreplaceable loss of green space for downtown. It is sad to see this happening in front of our eyes in Asheville.

When contacted about this imminent great loss, several City Council members, a representative of the city Tree Commission, the Downtown Commission, [Downtown Asheville Residential Neighbors], PARC, Asheville GreenWorks and the Sierra Club all stayed silent or commented that they do not see a need or way to prevent the removal of the trees. Various city offices and the Downtown Commission have already approved the projected apartment complex.

Is that what we, the citizens of Asheville, want to allow silently? Surely, there must be a way to preserve this valuable stand of old, tall trees. Can we pull together a group of individuals and organizations for the preservation of this piece of undeveloped nature? We challenge all readers of this opinion letter to speak up! We hope so!

— Inge and Imke Durre


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