November 12, 2012
Honorable Terry Bellamy, Mayor of Asheville
Asheville City Council
Gary Jackson, Asheville City Manager
Stephanie Monson, COA Riverfront Redevelopment Coordinator and Urban Planner for Economic Development
Chief William J. Anderson, City of Asheville Chief of Police
Lt. Jamee Crawford, Asheville Police Department
Evan Coward, Asheville Police Department Community Resource Officer
Heather Dillashaw, The Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative, City of Asheville
Marsha Stickford, City of Asheville Neighborhood Volunteer Coordinator
To Whom It May Concern:
On Saturday October 27, 2012, Stephen Andrew Marsh was killed inside The Ice Plant @ 91 Riverside Drive by Ian Alexander Allen. It has come to light that the perfect storm of homeless squatting, mental health issues, safety concerns limiting Asheville Police & Fire Department access and property owner neglect of security & civic duty have all contributed to this event. As organizations representing concerned residents, business owners, and workers, we believe it is long past time for the problems at the Ice Plant to be addressed. It is unfortunate and tragic that it has taken the senseless death of a community member to bring about significant steps to fix this problem. This particular building is a public safety hazard, has recently been host to numerous violent incidents, is a significant drain on public resources, and represents blight on the many, many years of hard and committed work that neighbors, business owners, and the City of Asheville have invested into making this area a safe and special place.
At the West End / Clingman Avenue Neighborhood (WECAN) meeting on Thursday, November 1, Stephanie Monson shared that the City of Asheville staff have been directed to investigate both legal and fiscal possible remedies and report back to the City Manager with a comprehensive plan that would address not only the Ice Plant, but any other similar property situation. We look forward to the City of Asheville coming forward with the leadership that has long been desperately needed in this particular instance. As a community, we request the following:
- The Ice Plant should be secured immediately, but no later than Friday, November 16.
- An updated policy from the City of Asheville detailing how it will address vacant and dangerous buildings in and around our neighborhood. We expect to receive a digital version of the policy on or before Friday, November 16.
- The policy should clearly hold to account property owners to secure their property. If a property is sold or changes hands, the property still must remain secured until the building is demolished or it becomes legally occupied.
- The policy should clearly communicate steps to ensure that other problem properties (remnants of the Old Cotton Mill and Days Warehouse are our greatest concern now) will be secured within 60 days from the date of this letter.
West End / Clingman Avenue Neighborhood (WECAN)
River Arts District Business Association (RADBA)
River Arts District Artists (RADA)
This is the Mayor's response on November 12th to the letter:
Thank you for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with council. Your concerns have been a topic of discussion for the leadership of the senior staff and they have a plan to address many of the concerns that you have outlined. Mr. Jackson will provide you the details of what has been decided and he or his staff will provide you information on the implementation schedule as well.
Again, thank you for your email.