Yesterday, Asheville City Council held a special worksession to talk about creating a dog park in north Asheville. Council had already approved a resolution committing the city to contributing $5000 and making general efforts perhaps in the general direction of getting a park. The city has policies for prioritizing parks projects and a long waiting list. The problems arose when the developer of the Thoms Estate offered to dedicate about 8 acres to the city for the park. If I am not mistaken, this is the same allegedly swampy portion of the property for which a former city council laughed down a former developer when he offered to dedicate it to the city for a plain old park.
The problem required special direction from council when staff became unable to control the process. Citizens had offered to match the city’s contribution to pay for the design of the park, and pay for ongoing park maintenance, but they had their own, evolving, organic timeframe. The city was at the mercy of the developer. In order to take control of the situation, staff asked if council might not prefer to handle the project with public funding, thus crowding out the dream of advocates for some other park, who, having played by the rules, had been sitting around on the waiting list. Only Mayor Terry Bellamy articulated an interest in upholding the rule of law.
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