I moved to Asheville in 1989 and remember how excited I was to read the Green Line. As Western North Carolina director of the Self-Help Credit Union, I’ll always remember the day that Julian Price walked into our little office at 12 ½ Wall Street and made a substantial deposit. I know his support of the Self-Help Credit Union and Green Line were some of his earliest investments in Asheville.
In 1994, I was the executive director of the Affordable Housing Coalition of Asheville and Buncombe County. Mountain Xpress’ consistent coverage of important housing issues, starting with the passage of a minimum housing code, brought local housing advocacy to the forefront. Calvin Allen and the Fund for Investigative Reporting stayed on top of the housing code negotiations that went on for months. I can still remember one Xpress cover feature titled, “Burning Down the House,” which eloquently shared the story of a family living in a substandard rental home in Montford where sunlight showed through holes in the roof and rotting floorboards showed the ground below.
After the city housing code passed, the Mountain Xpress stayed on top of other important community stories such as the creation of the Unified Development Ordinance and the passage of the Housing Trust Fund. Xpress’ in-depth coverage of these important stories furthered the community conversation and kept challenging issues in the public’s eye.
Beth Maczka is executive director of the YWCA of Asheville and WNC.