The city-owned property across from St. Lawrence Basilica has been the subject of local controversy for years.
Local PAC PARC has led the battle in proposing a green space across from the basilica, saying heavy construction across from the century-old building will damage it, and that the proposed hotel is inappropriate for the site.
Asheville City Council member Marc Hunt (D) has dismissed a park as too expensive, stating that “conversion of this site to an urban park would require millions,” but offering no data.
Now a third alternative arises: A plaza.
From an Asheville Citizen-Times guest editorial today:
Visit www.stlawrenceplaza.com. Sign the petition. Read the write-up about the Kessler Group. It is now partnering with the basilica to design a piazza and is responsible for the “perfect fit” of the Bohemian Hotel in historic Biltmore Village.
For everyone who wants a park, the issue is moot. The council has stated unequivocally that it won’t happen. Instead of generating revenue, a park demands costly maintenance. If a landscaped piazza is second-best in your view, wouldn’t it trump a concrete box (see 51 Biltmore Ave.) that would block the basilica, the Vanderbilt Apartments building and the Battery Park Apartments building?