Two views, one Basilica

Please allow me to translate the recent letter from Peggy Seeger of Boston, who ranted about the proposed new hotel across from the Civic Center ["Lovely, Lucky, Poor Asheville," Letters, June 3].

"People from all over the world come to visit Asheville." Translation: I support sprawl. Who needs density? Let the visitors from all over the world bring their cars and clog Asheville streets from their suburban motels instead of having a hotel downtown where they can walk.

"You have survived waves of developers who have cut down your trees and systematically demolished your historic buildings and put up monstrosities." Translation: I am a habitual liar. I can't give any examples of demolished historic buildings, but I will say anything to make a point — truth be damned.

"You are now about to lose your Basilica." Again, I love to lie. Of course the Basilica isn't going away but I need to be dramatic.

"You could have had a park opposite the Basilica." Hell, I live in Boston so I don't care what additional burden to taxpayers I propose. And I won't mention all the existing parks within walking distance to the Basilica.

—  DeShawn Pugh
West Asheville

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3 thoughts on “Two views, one Basilica

  1. hauntedheadnc

    A bit harsh, but the points are valid.

    People come to visit Asheville — and it would be better for everyone if they could park just once at a downtown hotel and walk for most of their vacation. If they’re staying in the sprawl and driving back and forth, they’re creating headaches for themselves and for those of us who live here.

    You have survived waves of developers — and yet here we are one of the best-preserved cities in the country. We have three castles and a palace, well-preserved historic neighborhoods, and more historic homes, from mansions to bungalows to shotgun shacks, than anyone in their right mind would care to count. Yes, we lost a lot, but not nearly as much as other cities and not as much as the original Bostonian would like to think.

    You are about to lose your basilica — Why? Is it going somewhere? Is it to be torn down? Being overly dramatic won’t make a point. It makes you look foolish.

    You could have had a park — Indeed, and we may still. In fact, if we get a public park or plaza in addition to a hotel that will create jobs and put a passel o’ customers within walking distance of downtown shops, galleries, and restaurants, that would strike me as a winning combination.

  2. I’m not opposed to downtown hotels….but I think the town needs to preserve some balance between serving current residents and catering to visitors. Yes…the Asheville economy is dependent upon tourism to survive…no arguments there. But, if we continue down the path we’re on we’are gonna lose the very “charm” that is attracting visitors in the first place.
    A park/greenspace would be an asset to both residents and tourists and thus a good choice for property across from the Basilica.

    There are currently no greenspaces left in that part of town….the closest being the now unusable Park Square park in front of the courthouse which is several blocks away.

  3. hauntedheadnc

    This particular location has all the earmarks for a perfect park location. It has definite but porous street walls where lots of people can come and go easily, it frames and magnifies a landmark. This plot of land would be perfect for a park or plaza, but I’d be satisfied with a development that included one.

    I’ve been hearing disturbing things about the architectural pedigree of the firm chosen to build this hotel though. While I’m not opposed to development, I am opposed to bad buildings. I’ve always said that bad architecture is more of a threat to downtown than big buildings or tall buildings.

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