Ashvegas Hot Sheet: Preservation crews will assess Asheville’s Basilica of St. Lawrence


Here’s more of what’s going around, including news about work on the Basilica of St. Lawrence, and much more. Here we go:

-Asheville’s historic Basilica of St. Lawrence will be the focus of some preservation work during the week of Oct. 8. Folks passing by the Basilica will see crews rappelling down the bell towers and exterior walls of the building to document its condition, according to a press release. The Basilica, at 97 Haywood St., was designed and constructed by the nationally famous Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino and his son more than 100 years ago. Donate to a fund to preserve the structure, and learn more about it, at More from the press release:

Joseph Oppermann, a Winston-Salem-based architect and preservation expert well known in the Asheville area for his work at the Biltmore Estate and the Thomas Wolfe House, was selected earlier this year to lead the overall project to determine the Basilica’s preservation needs, according to a news release. His team will include several contractors with various areas of expertise that have collaborated with him on other preservation projects. Vertical Access, based in Ithaca, N.Y. was selected to assess the condition of the building. A number of rope access technicians will make multiple “inspection drops” down the church’s bell towers and other exterior walls, using tablet computers and cameras to document their observations. The  analysis of the interior walls and ceiling will be performed by drones equipped in the same manner. After a thorough analysis of the exterior, including the copper covered dome, and the interior, the company will report their findings and preservation recommendations. Experts will also be studying other aspects of the interior, mechanical and acoustic areas of the Basilica. In April 2010, the Basilica of St. Lawrence received status in the National Register of Historic Places as a Building of National Significance.

-Haakon Industries, in conjunction with the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, Asheville City Council and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, recently announced plans to invest $19.6 million in new Asheville operations at Enka Commerce Park, according to a press release. The custom HVAC manufacturer plans to build a manufacturing plant that will serve customers across the U.S., according to the release. The expansion will create up to 160 new jobs in its first five years, including positions in assembly and production, machining and engineering, management and administration. The company is based in Richmond, British Columbia. It’s HVAC equipment is used in hospitals, pharmaceutical laboratories, clean rooms, microchip manufacturers, universities, data centers, and other institutional, industrial and commercial facilities around the world. Haakon plans to break ground in the Enka Commerce Park next year, according to the release. The 350-acre park is located near the intersection of Interstate 26 and Interstate 40, adjacent to the western campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Haakon joins a growing number of employers revitalizing the site formerly home to Buncombe County’s largest employer, American Enka. At its peak, the Dutch rayon manufacturing campus once spanned 2,000 acres in west Buncombe County, employing over 4,000 residents.

-Alan’s Jewelry and Pawn is donating nearly $6000 worth of instruments and equipment to the LEAF Instrument Petting Zoo including 29 guitars, 13 flutes, seven clarinets, three violins, one saxophone, instrument cases and nearly 50 sets of new strings. Staff from Alan’s, including owner Alan Sheppard, will deliver the to instruments to the LEAF students on Thursday.

-The Bascom Lamar Lunsford “Minstrel of Appalachia” Festival, the second oldest folk music festival in Western North Carolina, returns to the campus of Mars Hill University on Oct. 6 for its 51st year. Festival director Leila Weinstein says all of the new features. “All of them have an emphasis on giving folks an opportunity to actively participate in the music, which is a great way to perpetuate the rich musical traditions of this region!”

-A new public art sculpture has been installed on North Lexington Avenue. Artist Beatrice Coron’s metal sculpture is called the “Lexington Life Column.”

-Asheville native Rashad McCants, a former NBA basketball player who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and played basketball for the college’s men’s basketball program, has a new book out called “Plantation Education: The Exploitation of the Modern-Day Athlete-Student.” McCants has said that he took “paper classes” and didn’t have to attend classes during his time in Chapel Hill. The college