Give us back our park

I really miss reading Cecil Bothwell in the pages of the Mountain Xpress. Dismissing him from the paper was a real loss to our community. I hope the Mountain Xpress has enough sense to hang on to Jason Sandford, because he is doing excellent work.

I want to comment on the shape of downtown Asheville. First, the huge, shiny, silver statue in Pritchard Park looks really out of place in a tiny brick courtyard. This should be moved to a place that matches the size of the sculpture, and since it is a modernistic piece of art, [it] should be in a modernistic setting. Pritchard Park does not meet either of these standards.

But that pales in comparison to the horrific mess we now have in Pack Square and City/County Plaza. And it is not a new or temporary mess—this [area] has been torn up and rendered nearly unusable by the public for three years now! We have lost a beautiful fountain, lovely flowering trees with benches underneath, a sculpture of a girl at a fountain, and a nice stage area for local cultural events. In return, we got hideous ugliness [from] the Pack Square Conservancy. It is really a shame that the city officials and county officials ever talked to these people. Their ideas are destructive, and their ability to finish up a project seems to be nonexistent. And if they have the same artistic judgment as the people who put a huge, shiny, futuristic sculpture in a tiny brick courtyard, then I expect the final result for Pack Square and City/County Plaza to be a major eyesore.

This is totally inexcusable that this group was allowed to destroy two downtown parks and render them unusable for the public for over three years. And on top of all that, they are going to spend millions to “fix” it up again. I do not think that public money should be used for this at all, and I don’t think having business or private money [paying for] this work will lead to a result that is usable by the public. I think they should be ordered to return everything in City/County Plaza and Pack Square to exactly the way it was in late 2004, and they should do it at their own expense.



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7 thoughts on “Give us back our park

  1. travelah

    Hopefully Jason will not do anything as a journalist that would require his dismissal. As for Pack Square and the Plaza, what is it actually supposed to look like when it is complete?

  2. KC

    Must be the same people who were in charge of maintaining the Mount Mitchell Observation Tower.

  3. limabeancounter

    I really liked the ranger booth myself … seemed to offer a retro Smoky Mountain National Park feel to downtown. Because government is smarter than the average bear!

  4. David

    When such high public interest is at steak, the construction project should have been operating day and night till completion. I want to see exactly how this money was “spent”. I want a public and complete audit of all public and “non-profit” money that was supposedly spent on our park. It does not take that long or much money to build a park. I wonder who profited from the current mess that we have and if some are criminally culpable.

  5. Don Yelton

    I remember when they came to the commissioners and said we will do it for around 13 million and without tax dollars…mmm that was a long time ago.

    David you speak volumes.

    transparency is the key.

  6. William P Miller

    “I want to comment on the shape of downtown Asheville. First, the huge, shiny, silver statue in Pritchard Park looks really out of place in a tiny brick courtyard.” AMEN, in spades. Talk about out of place. What were people thinking here? Maybe in front of the ugly BT&T;building. I would like to see real art at Pritchard Park, something that is Southern, not NYC-chic.

    I am also so with you the letter writer on Pack Square “park”. Why is this taking so long? And I do hope they invite Shindig On The Green back to this “park” when they finally finish it. In place of the transplant-tourist draw of the outdoor rock concerts replete with beer trucks.

    I want my Asheville back!

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