Whose streets? Residents’ or tourists’?

Brian Postelle's excellent article about Asheville City Council's search for more revenue ["Splitting the Check," Jan. 27] left me with a nagging sensation about the city government's priorities and my quality of life as a resident — not a tourist.

Mayor Terry Bellamy is quoted as saying, "If we woke up tomorrow and said we're not going to sweep our streets, you can't tell me that won't affect tourism." Well, excuse me, but I didn't know the city had actually been sweeping the streets in the first place, and that affects me, a resident and taxpayer. In my neighborhood and in neighborhoods all over the city, the gutters (where they exist) are clogged with leaves, trash and debris. I work at home and, in two years, have seen a street sweeper come by exactly once. Our far-flung city streets are a mess, kudzu and other weeds grow rampant, and untended vacant lots are marked by broken walls and sidewalks and littered with rusting scrap. That's unsightly, demoralizing and, ultimately, unsafe.

Yes, everyone should be responsible for his or her own property, but in a city this size there's a lot of common space that no one individual is going to clean up. That takes city muscle. I get tired of the emphasis on tourism when I see so little evidence that the city is giving residents the same level of attention our visitors get.

The mayor also said at that meeting, "We are the product people sell." Sort of. We're also a municipality where the government's primary job is the safety and welfare of its citizens.

— Nan Chase

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4 thoughts on “Whose streets? Residents’ or tourists’?

  1. travelah

    I thnk you are right for the most. If you look really close at Asheville it sometimes looks really seedy. Throwing mural paint on a brick wall somewhere is nice and good (sometimes) but it’s kind of like throwing lipstick on a pig at times.

  2. ashevillelokel

    Its called budget cuts …. I live downtown and have for almost 20 years (before it was “cool”) … the City used to deploy actual trucks that washed the streets with water several days a week (depending on the street) … I do not know when this stopped, (maybe it was the “drought”), but I have not seen/heard one of these trucks since the last Bele Chere!

    The sidewalks may be the merchants responsibility, but the “gutters”, ultimately, are where the “sidewalk trash” ends the day: thus the streets are filthy.

    The area downtown is riddled with uneven pavement, poorly marked lines, potholes that would threaten a “smart car” and sidewalks that are almost as bad in places!

    The City (and County) response to the 09-10 snowstorms has been lackluster at best (yes it was better the most recent day), but both City and County openly stated that employees were on overtime and a lack of equipment (from years of no snow winters) are factors they are contending with.

    The long and short remains budgetary …. and the Council claims to be 5 Million in the hole as it is … I wouldn’t look for those street washers until later summer!

    See ya’ll at Bele Chere!

  3. chops

    I’m a (year-round) resident, and I take pride in also being a tourist in my own town.

    Why would anyone want to be only a resident — especially in a town like this!

  4. hauntedheadnc

    [i]Enjoy[/i] Asheville, chops? [i]Enjoy[/i] it? How gauche. Everyone knows that [i]enjoying[/i] Asheville is something only the tourists do. If you live here, you’re only allowed to bitch about how much better Asheville was 15 years ago when it was still half-abandoned and was the exclusive province of you and a handful of carefully selected tragically hip acquaintances.

    You’re also supposed to scowl when you see people from out of state spending money here, because God knows we can definitely support all those art galleries and whatnot with just the 80,000 people who live here in town.

    Really… Get with the program already, would you?

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