On Wednesdays, everyone was reading it

Getting ready to plan the area beside Lexington Avenue at the Interstate 240 underpass. This was one of hundreds of beautification projects undertaken by Quality Forward (now GreenWorks). Photo courtesy of Susan Roderick

Mountain Xpress added to the vibrancy of an already out-of-control energy level around Asheville in the ’90s. Events and causes finally had a voice, and everyone pitched in to get the word out. We knew it was a successful publication because you would go through downtown on a Wednesday and everyone was reading it. It’s still a mainstay of my life every week — how would I know what’s going on around town?

In 1994, the folks with Quality Forward — now Asheville GreenWorks — were busy planting trees and providing big flower pots all around downtown and beyond, with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Some of my favorites are the cherry trees out Patton Avenue into West Asheville, planted with help from A-B Tech students. Our ambition was to line the entire strip all the way from downtown out to Interstate 40, but we had to come to our senses. The gateways into town are still fairly ugly, so we’ve got more work to do. Even though the city now requires developers to plant, there’s still very little shade.

It’s been a blast watching Asheville and Buncombe County transform, and I have to say that Mountain Xpress has been a huge part in this renaissance. May you be around for another 20 years!

Susan Roderick moved to Asheville in l975, worked at Asheville GreenWorks (then Quality Forward) for 38 years, has lived in Montford since 1980 and planted hundreds of trees around town. You may see her to this day planting, weeding and cleaning up. She is so proud of what Asheville has become when she travels to other cities and doesn’t see half of the vibrancy and care for the environment.



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