Here’s more of what’s going around:
-The folks at Frugal Backpacker in Asheville have announced that they are closing their brick-and-mortar store due to the disruption caused by the pandemic and moving online, with the idea that the brick-and-mortar may one day return. Frugal Backpacker, located at Westgate shopping center, will hold a liquidation sale of its existing inventory from Friday through Sunday, Nov. 22. The business, which is the discount outdoor gear arm of Diamond Brand Outdoors, has been in business for 18 years. Diamond Brand’s shop on Biltmore Avenue in downtown remains open.
-The owner of Over Easy Cafe in Asheville has announced that the popular breakfast joint is closing for now in downtown Asheville, and will reappear as a pop-up restaurant and possibly in a new brick-and-mortar location in the future. The Over Easy location on Broadway is currently being refurbished for a new tenant.
-Mission Hospital is asking for early assistance from city of #Asheville building inspectors as it seeks to renovate 4,800 square feet of a 49,000-square-foot warehouse on Ridgefield Court into manufacturing space for protective face shields to guard against Covid-19.
-Sister Spa is the name of a new luxury day spa moving into the former C & Co. Skincare space at 10 Brook St. in Biltmore Village.
-Rabbit Rabbit, the new outdoor music and event venue on Coxe Avenue in downtown Asheville next to Asheville Brewing Co., will transform this week into kind of a mini holiday theme park, complete with lighting, inflatables, holiday movie screenings, a socially distanced Santa and more. Winter Wonderland at Rabbit Rabbit officially launches Friday at 5 p.m. Reserved seating for movies and silent disco events require tickets which are $5 each in Dec and available on site during open hours, and here: rabbitrabbitavl.com.
-The city of Asheville should move ahead with selling a 1-acre parcel of property along Asheland Avenue to Haywood Street Congregation church so it can build 42 permanently affordable apartments for unhoused people, a City Council committee decided earlier this week.
Councilwoman Sheneika Smith, who made the motion for approval, said she struggled with her decision to approve the deal, but in the end said “we need to lean into the need” for deeply affordable housing. City Councilman Keith Young, who voted against the proposal, simply stated, “My community continues to get pillaged.” City Councilwoman Julie Mayfield, the third committee member, voted in favor of the proposal. Residents who spoke up during the meeting, including several neighbors in the South French Broad neighborhood, complained that they had not been properly informed of the development plans. Some speakers said the deal should be part of a city reparations deal, noting that the city acquired the land during the Urban Renewal period of the 1960s and ’70s in Asheville.
The issue nows moves on to the full Asheville City Council for consideration. It’s worth noting that both Mayfield and Young are leaving City Council. Mayfield didn’t run for re-election to City Council and instead sought a seat in the N.C. Senate, which she won. Young lost his -re-election big. The new council members – Sage Turner, Sandra Kilgore and Kim Roney – will be sworn in next month. (The third seat to change is the one currently held by Councilman Brian Haynes, who did not seek re-election.)
-There isn’t a “Code Purple” system in place in Asheville to help homeless people find shelter, due to Covid-19 requirements for testing and social distancing, and that has advocates for the unhoused worried as we move into winter.
In the past, when temperatures hit 32 degrees or less, a “code purple” announcement would allow local shelters to open up more space for the un-housed. But Covid restrictions require people using the shelters to test negative before entering, and space is restricted because of social distancing requirements. City officials and advocates for the unhoused are working on finding more space for those very cold nights.