New girl in town already knows the drill

Thank you, Mountain Xpress, for H. Byron Ballard’s commentary on annexation [“The Farm at the Bottom of the Lake,” July 18]. I read with interest her perspective as someone who spent her youth in east Buncombe.

At age 59, I fell off the world and into the bosom of Asheville. My fall wasn’t a stumble, because it had been well-calculated for many years. I’m one of the new arrivals who, in Ballard’s words, “want to be part of something, not apart from it.” Frankly, I’ve found that locals greet me as though I’ve finally wised up and come home.

This is all about being the new girl in town, which is something I’ve never been before. Though I’ve wanted to live in Asheville since I was 14, I’ve spent the great majority of my life in Orlando—or more specifically, Winter Park. In this little burb, I frequently experienced newcomers wailing about traffic and overcrowded schools. Even more vocal were the cries against developers who were hell-bent on destroying the city’s character. I watched new residents ply their complaints to the city commission, while I, who had grown up in Winter Park, appreciated their displays of enthusiasm about their new home.

Today, I’m the newcomer with the axe to grind. I’ll be right there at those Asheville and Buncombe County commission meetings, hawking my wares about managed growth and responsible use of land, because I may have sweltered through most of my life as an Orlandoan, but I’m a cool Ashevillean now.

— Susan Blexrud

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