Asheville City Council passes Civic Center renaming deal with U.S. Cellular

At their Nov. 22 meeting, Asheville City Council members voted 6-1 to approve a $1.3 million deal that gives U.S. Cellular naming rights to the Asheville Civic Center in an attempt to help renovate the aging facility. But other companies or organizations that want to counter-bid have a chance to do so — up till Dec. 31. During public comment on the matter, many speakers took issue with the deal, asserting it gives a corporate face to a unique piece of infrastructure with little return.

Letters to the editor: U.S. Cellular edition

Xpress received a large volume of letters about the proposed agreement between the city of Asheville and U.S. Cellular. Announced on Nov. 10, the deal would grant naming rights to the Chicago-based company in exchange for an investment of “up to $1.3 million over eight years.” The deal is subject to Council approval, scheduled for the Nov. 22 meeting. Dozens of readers responded with a similar argument — the negotiations were too covert; corporate sponsorship clashes with Asheville’s distinct character; the bidding process for such a deal should be open — but many of the perspectives are unique. Two readers applaud the potential deal. In the following special post, Xpress compiled the letters on the proposed agreement. (Image provided by U.S. Cellular.)