I am alarmed that Asheville is—as are a growing number of American towns—a victim of a Buncombe scheme.
I read about these in USA Today. Well-rehearsed teams of operators, based out of Chicago, travel the nation—seeking and finding towns that have a leaky fountain in their town square. When one is located, soon that town will find it has a “Renaissance” committee and then a “Conservancy Board,” which promptly claims to have raised thousands of dollars.
This group hires their cohorts, $40,000 out-of-town consultants who hold meetings at which participating townsfolk are asked what features they want in their remodeled town square, and the Buncombe schemers pretend to add up and average out these requested features.(Did any citizen actually see the lists of requests? Does anyone remember suggesting a pricey Veterans’ Rock?)
Meanwhile the town square is fenced off and the trees on it are cut down and a projected total cost of $6 million is announced, which is revised to $20 million, then $24 million, then $37 million, while the traveling “Conservancy” doubles its salaries and prepares to skip off to Venezuela.
I hate when this happens.
— Catherine Wheel