Conscience will protect the Basilica

I am writing this in the belief that our municipal government has already received a fiduciary and moral wake-up call in the shadow of the Pack Square debacle. Does Asheville government want to repeat the desecration of our treasured architectural, cultural and historic legacy — which was the dreadful permanent fate of Thomas Wolfe's home — by erecting such a blight on our collective landscape and destroying the integrity of our century-old Basilica?

Rather than repeat all the obvious sound reasons for rejecting such plans, including the fact that our Basilica is only one of 33 in the entire country (at the time of its designation), let's look at some of the historical record.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided decades ago to give legal voice to our natural environment because it could not speak for itself. Why less for our precious nonrenewable architectural environment?

And in a twisted irony, when ordered by Hitler to "Burn Paris," his highest officers refused. Even in the minds of some of history's most depraved people, there was some spark of conscience against destroying forever such beauty!

Look all around you at the general economic collapse of this country. Does city government want to continue to remain in the ranks of often-synonymous government and business in its flagrant disregard for the quality of life of ordinary citizens and our future generations? What legacy does it want to be remembered in leaving to our still beautiful city?

Let us reflect wisely on this proposed action.

— Eileen Kennedy
Asheville

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4 thoughts on “Conscience will protect the Basilica

  1. hauntedheadnc

    I think that if the basilica was going to be permanently desecrated by anyone, it happened in 1974 when the Civic Center opened its doors. That church has been cheek to jowl with ugly for a looooong time.

    I’m also curious as to how the Thomas Wolfe house was desecrated. Perhaps by facing the ass-end of the Renaissance Hotel. I could get that. I get the feeling though that the writer refers to the 60 N. Market condos. To my mind 60 N. Market actually makes a refreshingly chaotic juxtaposition against the Thomas Wolfe house in the same way that most of the best pairs of buildings downtown completely clash with each other.

    Is this another case of don’t-build-anything-near-anything NIMBYism again? I hope not, because that just drowns out the real issue and the real solution to this situation.

  2. ashevillelokel

    Ms Kennedy ….

    By “Pack Square debacle” I assume you are referring to the Black Dog Realty project/condos, and not the “debacle” of the Pack Square “Conservancy” … please remember that the final decision on the Parkside Condo project is no longer in the hands of the local municipal government.

    It lies, instead with an appealate judge in NC … who most likely will rule in favor of Mr Coleman, and the building will proceed as planned.

    As there was nothing illegal about the sale of the land, nor the proposed building (it even passed all legal, local ordinances, requirements etc).

    The legacy of Asheville is the juxtaposition of the various architectural styles, including the most Art Deco buildings (outside Miami), in the US.

    No one complained about the “rennovations” currently underway at the old S&W (which is on the National Historic Registry), no one seems to be concerned that the City Building has fallen under disrepair (under the leadership of the folks you engender to stop the “desecration”).

  3. who

    There have been a few letters written as if the basilica is about to be destroyed, or lost in some nefarious, inner-dimensional realm cast by the shadow of a taller building. From where the hotel is proposed to be placed, do people now stand at that same spot and look dreamily at the basilica? The basilica has a cool roof. I’d imagine that a close up, bird’s eye view from above would be a pretty cool angle.

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