As one of the invitees that agreed to participate in a Parkside forum [“We Need to Talk,” Commentary, Aug. 27], it’s disappointing to see it fail. The secrecy and unanswered questions surrounding this very important issue fairly scream for a full public discussion. Our local media, primarily the Asheville Citizen-Times and WLOS, have failed to fully present the facts, and misinformation rules. For example, some still apparently believe that years ago, the Pack Square Conservancy proposed a building on the Parkside footprint, so why should we object now? The fact that this is false won’t be reported outside this letter.
What other facts are down the memory hole? The county staff was planning to sell that park property to a developer long before Stewart Coleman came along. No one from the county will have to face questioning on this. Some county staff planned to threaten the Conservancy over their budget in order to force them to support Parkside. Has anyone confronted them over this? No. [Former] Asheville Planning and Development Director Scott Shuford advocated a deal to City Council that would allow Stewart Coleman to develop part of the Marjorie Street lot, less than two minutes after Mr. Coleman purchased the park property next door at the county with this very plan in mind. Does this raise questions for you? Too bad.
The unanswered questions will remain unanswered, because certain people don’t want to answer them. I’m glad that Mountain Xpress and the League of Women Voters tried to set up this forum, but I am disappointed they allowed a few participants to torpedo it simply by not confirming. Of course they’d rather not face the public. They know how unpopular this thing is. Will they allow it to roll forward? We may not know until it’s too late to stop it. Perhaps that’s the plan.
— Barry Summers