A win for city, Coleman, Wiccans

As a generally pro-downtown-development business owner, but not familiar with exactly what comprises the actual site, I have remained neutral on the subject of Parkside. As the controversy has increased, my curiosity and a fine summer evening led me to Pack Square, and I have to say this is a perfect chance to heal some wounds and find a perfect middle ground.

For Pack Square to be a truly vibrant space, a residential project needs to happen. I felt perfectly safe, but with no one around to enjoy the cityscape and the intoxicating aroma of the famous magnolia, the park felt sterile and lifeless, and all the money currently being spent will not change this. Great urban parks have nearby residences. I do not know the history of the Hayes-Hobson building, but it certainly does not appear to be architecturally significant.

That said, there is no way that the disputed park parcel should be part of this project. It would be too close to the City Hall’s circular drive and would create a crowded sense to the finest municipal building this side of the Mason-Dixon. I urge the city to work with Stewart Coleman to find an alternative that would allow his project use of the area behind the Hayes-Hopson in exchange for the parcel beside. If that can happen: Buncombe County, you owe us one.

A building named Parkside can only benefit from having park on two sides, leaving a little breathing room between it and City Hall, and the residents will love that incredible magnolia as much as the Wiccans.

— Steve Woolum
Asheville

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One thought on “A win for city, Coleman, Wiccans

  1. Gordon Smith

    What’s funny, Steve, is that Coleman intended to leverage the park property to acquire City-owned property in the first place. It’s all been part of a cynical scheme concocted by Mr. Coleman, Mr. Israel, and Scott Shuford.

    Mr. Coleman ought to build whatever he likes within the Pack Conservancy Guidelines on his private property but not on our park.

    He was asked to submit an RFP for the City owned property but, to date, has not done so. He wants special treatment.

    Couple that with a major blunder by the County Commissioners and we’ve got a game of chicken on our hands, and Mr. Coleman does not intend to blink first.

    The County has offered Coleman $2.8 million for the properties he bought for $1.5 million. Coleman refused. The Performing Arts Center has long discussed using Site B (location of proposed Parkside project) as its home.

    I guess what I’m saying is that there’s no way the City ought to reward Mr. Coleman and his associates for holding our park land hostage. Mr. Coleman’s utter lack of civic duty and responsibility regarding our public space has been breathtaking. He has the Hayes and Hopson building, and more power to him. The rest is ours.

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