Archive for I-26 Connector


Friday Open Thread: Weekending

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zen{Photo by zen}

I suppose you loyal readers have been sufficiently solicited regarding your Democratic Party precinct meetings tomorrow morning at 10am, so I won’t again be urging you to show up and turn this Party into the infrastructure we need to keep fielding better Democrats.

Rootshock is taking place all weekend. For all of you who have been concerned over the I-26 Connector’s impact on our community, this weekend of lectures and activities will help everyone understand how “urban renewal” has injured African-American neighborhoods again and again. Please carve out time to attend one of the many events.

Tomorrow from 3-6pm there’s a party at the Burton St. Community Center. No political agenda, just raising community with food, entertainment, and a whole lot of good people. Find out more here.

Sunday from 2-5 there’s an opportunity to become involved in something that’s going to get a lot of virtual ink at this site after March 14. If you want to know more, please shoot me an email using the ScruHoo contact form.

Aside from those things, I’ll be playing some disc golf, having dinner with friends, writing a big blog post for a big blog, and taking care of responsibilities around the house.

What do you have going on?

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Rootshock in Asheville – A Weekend of Events.

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Deep Thought

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There’s no need for the I-26 Connector to carve into Burton St. neighborhood.

Categories : I-26 Connector
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Asheville Can Have a Better Connector

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wrld_cooperateNews that the DOT has produced new versions of Alternative I-26 designs brings us to a new place in the debate over what’s best for Asheville.  Alternative 4B has been altered since its inception to create more bridges and to cut into Burton St. neighborhood to the tune of two homes and an enormous sound wall along the west side of the neighborhood.  Alternative 3 has also been altered, cutting the impact in Burton Street from a 25 home bludgeoning to a 7 home kick in the face.  The sound wall figures in as well.

The speed with which the DOT altered these designs suggests that there is a lot of room to exert ourselves as a community and agree that we want the I-26 Connector completed quickly and completed with the most benefits to Asheville.  Choosing to carve into Burton Street, a neighborhood that is just a couple of years away from being an Asheville success story, is to willingly perpetuate the Urban Renewal disasters that have plagued the African-American community for decades.  Asheville can unite around protecting the fragile successes of Burton St. neighborhood.

We can also choose to move towards a transportation model that reduces traffic, reduces the need for parking decks, is less expensive for workers, and promotes health and community.  Alternative 4B promotes connectivity between downtown and west Asheville for alternative transportation.  Alternative 3 does not.

Some residents of Montford are rightly worried that Alternative 4B will mean that their neighborhood will border an interstate highway with flyover bridges.  There are design aspects on the table that can minimize noise and pollution impacts here as well.

If the DOT can move so quickly to alter designs after public outcry, and if the ADC can create a design that does not decimate a neighborhood on the move, it stands to reason that Asheville can have an I-26 design that preserves Burton Street, minimizes the impact on Montford, connects west Asheville to downtown, and creates a downtown development corridor.  Alternative 4B was fully vetted by a nationally renowned engineering firm and pronounced sound.  Alternative 3 has no supporters outside the Chamber Board and three County Commissioners.  The DOT has a lot of work to do to give Asheville a Connector that meets the needs of our community without carving it up.

(Click here to join the Save Burton St. Facebook Group, and receive the action alerts that go along with it)

Categories : I-26 Connector
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Fell Down and Got Back Up

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{cross posted from the Save Burton St. Facebook Group}

Dewayne Barton and Joe Minicozzi spoke at the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods meeting on February 9. I was typing away and captured this rough transcription of what I heard. Note the event date at the end:

“Dewayne Barton –

n43283128380_922In 2001 Burton St. neighborhood was full of crime, drugs, garbage in the streets – not the way it had been when he grew up there as a child. Started by picking up garbage. Saw the devastation of the drug trade. Drugs saturate communities and destroy them. I knew that when I returned to Burton St. community. Even the City was giving up on the neighborhood back then. Started community watch. City wanted to close down community center.

The people started organizing. We got some funding from the City, thanks to Mayor Bellamy. Started community gardens, trash pickup, community meetings, telling on our neighbors if it was their children selling the drugs. It changed. People really came together.

Burton St. is full of history. Agricultural fair started there. Burton St. had its own African American baseball team. Things started picking up, but I-26 was coming. We couldn’t deal with it right away because we were dealing with the Dope Boys. We started creating opportunity. We started an apprenticeship program.

To go through all that. To live in a crack infested neighborhood. To see guys run through your yard with guns. To work real hard to change it, then there’s something else you gotta deal with. Now we’re trying to deal with I-26.

The people in the community are still in recovery. They’re tired.  There are a lot of people coming from outside the neighborhood who want to help. It’s a new fight for me. It’s a different kind of fight.

This is a neighborhood, that if it can be saved, can be an Asheville highlight. An area that fell down and got back up.

Twenty-five homes in section B, 12 homes in section A + the church.

Joe Minicozzi – I suspect that DOT didn’t “mature the design” to protect those homes. Now DOT is trying to protect those houses because they see the issues. We hear they’re changing the Alternative 3 design, so it may impact only 8 houses. Next month we’re going to have a conversation session about the I-26 issue and the neighborhood.

March 9th at St. Paul Baptist Church. Walk through of neighborhood at 5:30, information session at 6:30.”

Categories : Action, I-26 Connector
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I-26: Newman V. Lutovsky

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Mountain Xpress has a story and some fun video.  Go check it out.

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I-26: Debated and Indexed

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Forkin' RoadHead of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Rick Lutovsky a.k.a. “Mr. Chamber”, will meet two proponents of I-26 Alternative 4B in two separate debates on the issue.  The Chamber, of course, endorsed Alternative 3.  Asheville City Councilman Brownie Newman will meet Lutovsky tomorrow at lunchtime:  “The event begins at 11:45 a.m. at the Buncombe County Board of Education. Admission is $16 for the general public, $14 for forum members.”  I imagine you could skate by without paying the ticket price if you brown bag it.

City Council candidate Cecil Bothwell is planning a protest outside the meeting.

“This city has a sorry history of destroying African-American neighborhoods in the name of progress,” Bothwell said in an e-mail. “Lutovsky and Executive Director Kelly Miller, of the Chamber, are perfectly willing to bulldoze another predominantly Black neighborhood to suit themselves. If I am elected to City Council I will use every means at my disposal to block the NCDOT from imposing Alternate 3 on our community.”

Bothwell is calling for demonstrators to gather at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28, outside the Board of Education. The luncheon begins at 11:45 a.m.”

After working that luncheon, Lutovsky will face off with Asheville Design Center’s Joe Minicozzi on “Conversations” – WCQS, 88.1 FM, 6pm. Tune in for the call in segment. I’m guessing you’ll hear some humdingers.

Aside from the decimation of Burton Street neighborhood, the fact remains that Alternative 3 uses more land, more asphalt, separates west Asheville from downtown, and does not allow for the creation of a 22 acre downtown development zone.  I’m looking forward to hearing whether Lutovsky has any new material and whether he’ll acknowledge the fact Alternative 4B never got a fair shake with the Chamber’s Board.

Here are a lot of fun facts about the two alternatives, done up in Harper’s Index fashion, courtesy of the Asheville Design Center:

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The results of our admittedly unscientific poll regarding which design alternative our readers would prefer are in, and the results show overwhelming support for Alternative 4B.

[poll id=”2″]

Thanks to everyone who participated. We’ll be doing more of these in the future now that our polling function is running smoothly.

Burton Street Center
Monday January 12, 2009
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: 259-5800
Phone: 259-5800

Grand Re-Opening. Please contact the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department at 259-5800 for further information.

Click here to see a Google Map.

Come out to support Burton St. residents and celebrate with them on the Re-Opening of their Community Center.

A couple of fun facts for you to remember:

Councilman Kelly Miller stands with the Chamber of Commerce in their endorsement of I-26 Connector Alternative 3. When Asheville City Council voted to endorse Alternative 4B in October, 2008, only Carl Mumpower voted against it.

Commissioners Peterson, Bailey, and Stanley voted for Alternative 3 but claimed they wanted to save Burton St.  Maybe they’ll show up tonight to tell the residents their plans to preserve their homes and neighborhood.