Can the Basilica be trusted to build a park?

Over the past few months there have been several letters objecting to the proposed hotel on Haywood Street across from the Basilica. I wonder if anyone remembers the particularly awful building called the education annex that the church itself built right across the street in its direct sightline.

When they tore it down, it did not become a park, but only a sad, heat-generating blacktop parking lot. Had a park been created and maintained there since then, I would feel a lot better about the adjacent parcels being sold to the Charlotte Diocese for some sort of public space. It is likely these buildings would be torn down and more flat-surface parking would appear until some “plan” many years from now gets formulated.

This will create more nontaxable income for the church and an eyesore for the city. Asheville is surrounded by thousands of acres of protected land but has a small and finite central business district; it is not advisable to put any more city-owned land into non-revenue situations. This property was purchased years ago for the city to develop. We should do just that and let the church make a beautiful plaza on their parking lot.

— Steve Woolum


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