Letter writer: How will RAD’s redevelopment affect Southside residents?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The Sept.14 issue’s headlining article, “Road to Redevelopment: Big Infrastructure Upgrades on RAD’s Horizon” [Xpress], was certainly thorough in its appraisal of how the RAD’s redevelopment would affect artists’ businesses and daily lives — however, the article neglected to evaluate how the construction and infrastructure improvements will affect the surrounding residential neighborhood of Southside. This leads to an unbalanced public discourse that centers the narrative of development on the positive impact for some, while ignoring the experience of many of the area’s deeply rooted citizens.

This article mentions that one of the greenways “will thread its way through the booming South Slope neighborhood … Along the way, signage and exhibits will highlight the South Slope’s heritage as a vibrant African-American community during the days of segregation and the civil rights movement.” As of the last Census (2010), the neighborhood was 55 percent black, which is quite a significant when one considers that Asheville is only 13 percent African-American. This suggests that Southside is more than historically African-American as the article seems to put forth, but is also presently home to a significant black population.

Southside has been gentrifying since the area’s urban renewal project of the 1970s when huge swaths of Southsiders were removed from their homes and placed in public housing (according to Inside East Riverside, the neighborhood was 98 percent black at the time). One wonders: Will these new infrastructure projects raise property value in such a way that makes rates of gentrification in the area rise exponentially? Is the city interested in offsetting this issue and maintaining and growing diverse communities — starting with folks who have been in Asheville decades upon decades?

Asheville’s history with urban renewal and the city’s moves toward slowly eliminating public housing and pushing poor folks out into the county suggest that the city doesn’t actually want to truly maintain a racially diverse Asheville. I suggest the Mountain Xpress account for these realities in future discussions of the RAD redevelopment project and other projects like it.

— Erin Daniell


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6 thoughts on “Letter writer: How will RAD’s redevelopment affect Southside residents?

  1. Deplorable Infidel

    ‘slowly eliminating public housing’ ? ? ? WHERE ? ? ? Asheville has MORE public housing per capita than any other NC city yet only the 6th largest city. How did that happen? democrackkks, the party of segregation and slavery.

    • Tom Williams

      Don’t let facts stand in the way of your argument but Asheville is the 11th largest city in North Carolina.
      Donald Trump is counting on voters like you, who think that facts are highly overrated, to help him “Make America Great Again”.

      • Mike

        Public housing PER CAPITA is unrelated to the population ranking of the cit.y. (But the NC League of Municipalities currently has Asheville ranked #10 (behind High Point and about 1,800 ahead of Greenville.) That said, it would be nice if Infidel could provide a source for that statistic .

        • Deplorable Infidel

          It’s a stat that I remember way back when former Maoyoress Terry Bellamy was going to redevelop PVA thru the
          HUD ‘Hope 6’ ‘program’ ‘like Greensboro did’ …it was all hocus pocus BS delivered to make her look like she was doing something worthwhile … NOW we taxpayers PAY her an exorbitant salary over there at your Housing Authority of Asheville as ‘Communications Director’, a position created especially for her by cronyism… They never needed one before. WHO does she communicate WITH ? certainly not complaints from citizen taxpayers!

  2. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    One of my earliest memories of Asheville is of an elderly black woman sitting on her porch at night talking to herself, lamenting and railing against the city because they had condemned her house to put up a rec center. I couldn’t see her because it was dark, but you could tell that she was really crushed and hurt. I had just moved there, so I didn’t know her. Maybe she ended up in public housing. It was really sad.

    That area of Montford is probably pretty pricey now. I wonder how the increased property taxes have impacted the other poor blacks I knew there. There’s no question gentrification destroys local culture. But it’s OK. We’ll just move them to ̶r̶e̶s̶e̶r̶v̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶s̶ housing projects.

    • Lulz

      LOL, the irony is of course the democrats they align with are the one’s doing it to them.

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