As in previous years, members of the public both applauded the city for funding long-promised initiatives, such as the 2018 Transit Master Plan and increases to firefighter pay, and voiced concern over how other taxpayer money would be spent.
The speaker series is part of a three-phase process to create and empower a joint Asheville-Buncombe County Reparations Commission. Once formed, the commission would be tasked with making short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to repair the damage caused by public and private systemic racism.
Asheville City Council and the community will participate in city business face to face for the first time since April 2020. The meeting will take place in the Banquet Hall at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville at 5 p.m.
Some additional revenue will be needed to fund a growing list of priorities for the 2021-22 annual operating budget, city staffers suggested at an April 27 Asheville City Council budget work session.
Eventually, the city plans to use the land to revamp Deaverview into a “purpose built community,” which, according to the Atlanta-based nonprofit steering the national model, would help local leaders create “greater racial equity, economic mobility and improved health outcomes for families and children.”
As the sometimes contentious discussions unfolded, members grappled with ambitious priorities for the upcoming year, and, perhaps more importantly, what their working relationships would look like for the next 18 months.
For months, residents have pressured elected leaders to fulfill their commitment to reparations for Asheville’s Black community. Plans are now in the works to form a joint city and county Reparations Commission by July, says Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell.
The new regulations allow hotels with 115 rooms or fewer to avoid a Council vote if they meet a series of design requirements, are located in a newly approved overlay district and contribute to equity-related public benefits.
Six months ago, as part of a reckoning on racial injustice, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County both passed resolutions to consider reparations to the Black community as a way to begin making amends for slavery and generations of systemic discrimination. Since then, local officials concede, little has been done.
As Asheville takes steps to reckon with its long history of systemic racism and economic inequity, local business owners are wondering what impacts the city’s ambitious initiatives will have on them.
“I think reparations are a wonderful idea — just as soon as you give us back our land!”
From the fate of the Vance Monument to a proposed affordable housing complex on land acquired through urban renewal, city officials move forward with longstanding projects.
As newly elected Asheville City Council members Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney embark on a new chapter of civic leadership following a close race, they inherit controversial priorities from the outgoing Council that will likely dominate the first few months of their term.
Callers expressed their frustration after Mayor Esther Manheimer announced Asheville City Council would not discuss the creation of a $1 million reparations fund at its Nov. 10 meeting.
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, members will consider a resolution to establish a reparations fund with $1 million. As of Nov. 6, meeting documents did not indicate where the money would come from or what initiatives would be funded first.
Community members generally applauded the decision as a step in the right direction. But the newly approved resolution exempts property under contract to be sold to White Labs, a move commenters found disheartening.
The future direction of Asheville City Council lies in the hands of its current six members. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Council will select a replacement for Vijay Kapoor — and city records reveal no consensus on who the ideal candidate should be.
“Come on Asheville, set an example. Now is the time.”
Al Whitesides, the sole Black member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and his three Democratic colleagues approved the resolution over the opposition of the board’s three Republicans. The county government is now aligned with Asheville City Council, which unanimously passed a similar measure on July 14.
“In our plan to build generational wealth for Black Ashevilleans, we can look at direct compensation for families and descendants with history in Asheville.”