Dear mayor, members of Asheville City Council and fellow citizens of Asheville:
Our beautiful city of Asheville made a huge step forward with the restoration of the Grove Arcade. The way it was done, with eye appeal and functionality, and keeping the overall dimensions of the building appropriate to the area, is to be applauded. This gave citizens of Asheville great hope for the restoration of that entire area.
As regards our most well-known historic structure, the Basilica of St. Lawrence, I believe that we must be very careful of what we do in the area between it and the Grove Arcade. High structures may be appropriate in some low-lying areas of the city, perhaps at the foot of Lexington and the start of Broadway, but not in the higher-lying areas that will affect the skyline and our historic treasures.
I am very concerned that what we have already achieved will be diminished if the MHG Development design is adopted. It is too tall and has far too large a footprint. Also, the design does not seem to complement the best structures that already exist there.
I have seen another rendition offered by MMM Development [a real-estate developer hired by the Basilica], which respects the historic value of the surrounding area and offers eye-appeal and functionality. The plaza-piazza design is exactly what is needed to make this the heart of Asheville.
Looking at it from a visitor’s point of view, I would find this appealing enough to consider planning a week in Asheville every year as a place to rest and recharge my energy.
I’ve been a resident of Asheville for 30 years, coming here from western New York, where beautiful, historic churches abound. We have a treasure here in the Basilica of St. Lawrence.
Please, your honor and City Council, preserve and protect the beauty and value that our ancestors left us.
— Nina M. D’Arcy,