Hidden from public scrutiny, behind the fence surrounding the new Pack Square Park, is a construction crew—maybe. No doubt this supposed crew has a supervisor with experience in construction or whatever should be happening in there. So I am at a loss when I try to picture just what “overseeing” Mr. Gary Giniat, the newly hired executive director of the Pack Square Conservancy (which oversees the remodeling of the Park) is going to “direct.” Mr. Giniat reportedly will “earn $60,000 a year” to direct this nonprofit group. I suggest that this be restated as “will get paid $60,000 a year” until there is some indication that something has been directed by this man, who “has visited Asheville several times.”
If I were he, I would certainly discourage anyone getting inside those fences, especially the members of Asheville Downtown Alliance, the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods, the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, and Mountain Voices Alliance—who recently volunteered to help finish the park and whose offer was rejected. [“Downtown Group Offers Volunteer Help to Complete Park,” Feb. 11 Xpress].
I, too, am kind of shy about folks watching me direct the overseeing of a supervisor. I surmise that, after 40 months of overseeing this remodeling project, the conservancy board has just about finalized and memorized the step-by-step process of the remaining work. It has been foreseen, and the overseeing could perhaps now be handled by the mere chair of the board, no?
Picture how this project would have gone if it had been in the hands of independent-restaurant-association types, who would have seen it as a large-scale patio addition and would have gone at it as if their livelihoods depended on it. It would have some outdoor tables and public drinking fountains and would have been carefully and proficiently completed two years ago, with no executive director needed.
Mr. Giniat does have experience in marketing and public relations (at the Children’s Museum in Chicago, where he lives). This experience is just what we need for Asheville’s Saturdays Arts Fair, which will begin in June in Pack Square. Readers: For more information on participating in this weekly Arts Fair, modeled after Eugene, Oregon’s Saturdays Market, let’s join together and volunteer and make it happen. Meetings are to be held in the Grove Corner Market’s upstairs perch, at noon every Saturday through May.
— Ron Ogle