News that the city of Asheville is negotiating with the McKibbon Hotel Group to build a seven-story hotel in front of St. Lawrence Basilica is disheartening, to say the least. Was it only three years ago that public outcry helped kill a high-rise parking-deck plan on the same site? We were short of downtown parking then, so the new plan is to compound our woe with yet another luxury hotel? It’s enough to remind even the nonreligious about the time Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage.
You’d think Asheville might have learned from past development mistakes in the city and county: that ill-starred parking deck, the proposed Woodfin power plant, the Grove Park Inn’s attempted [City-County Plaza] foray into downtown and continued wrangling over Stewart Coleman’s Parkside debacle. But no, the smell of steaming pottage is apparently still too strong to resist.
This new evidence of unabated compulsion to sell out to developers is another excellent reason to elect Cecil Bothwell to City Council. Bothwell covered these people for years as an investigative journalist, knows how to ask inconvenient questions and is dedicated to letting the sun shine in on the halls of power. It’s time for a little “Weed and Seed” program in City Hall.
— Michael Hopping