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Downtown Asheville Concerns
Five nights a week a piano player tickles the ivories and entertains diners at Vincenzo's restaurant. Even on a Monday night the spot is busy. It's something owner Dwight Butner depends on as a longtime business owner in Asheville's restaurant scene.
"We need to keep our face on," said Butner. His concern along with other downtown investors is that the face of Asheville for years has been changing. One big issue is trash.
"Every day when I open my restaurant," said Butner, "I have to clean up from the night before. The city is dirty."
Another concern is crime.
"I mean there was a stabbing this weekend downtown," said Adrian Vassallo, president of the Asheville Downtown Association.
Rebecca Hecht has owned the Adorn Beauty Salon on College street for four years. For her the worry is city leaders are putting enough investment in downtown infrastructure, from good policing, to adding garbage cans, to fixing cracked sidewalks and adding important safety crosswalk signs.
The points are all issues city council members have heard before. The Downtown Association sponsored a brainstorming session Monday night. About fifty area business owners showed up. The event appears to be a prelude to a more organized presentation to the City Council to push for millions in funding to improve downtown. Vassallo said the River Arts district received millions for improvements. He expects the Council will eventually do the same kind of financial earmarking for improvements to downtown. But he points out, it will likely not happen until next year.
by Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports