The RJC is looking to amplify the voices of the Black community in regards to the Haywood Street Congregation property deal for Asheland Avenue. In essence, Haywood Street Congregation is purchasing a piece of Asheland Avenue property from the City for the sum total of $1 to create an affordable housing development. Haywood Street Congregation will not be required to pay city taxes on the land and will be given one million dollars out of the housing trust fund in the form of a loan. They will also receive more than a million dollars from the Dogwood Health Trust to help develop the land.
Here’s why this is a problem: the City is using land taken through urban renewal to structure this deal and they did almost no community engagement during the years it was being put together. We are calling for Black community members to contact City Council and urge them to vote NO on the Asheland Avenue project. There are other pieces of land that can be used to build affordable housing. This land should be used for purposes that specifically remedy the damage produced by Urban Renewal and other discriminatory policies and practices. It should be part of reparations that the City owes Black people.
Let Council know that land taken during Urban Renewal should not be sold or otherwise redistributed without the consensus of the Black community. Let Pisgah Legal and Dogwood Trust know that, as a Black member of the community, you want them to withdraw their support of this project. The Asheland Avenue property is Urban Renewal land, taken from Black people, and Black people need to be the ones to decide what to do with it.
Please share this with as many Black community members as possible. We want to empower and amplify Black Communities’ voices.
Click on the button below to send emails with our suggested content (which you can edit and personalize as you see fit).
What you might say to City Council:
I am reaching out to you today as a Black community member to ask you to vote NO on the Asheland Avenue housing development deal with Haywood Street Congregation.
More affordable housing is an attractive and necessary goal for our city. But the land being offered up for this deal was taken in the City’s Urban Renewal process. It is being sold and developed with insufficient input from Black members of our community. We should be the ones to determine what to do with it, given how the City came to own it. If you are committed to instituting reparations for the harm caused to our communities by the City’s discriminatory policies and practices (particularly those around land, home ownership, and housing), you must legitimately engage the Black community on what to do with this land.
Land taken during Urban Renewal should not be sold or otherwise distributed without consensus from the Black community, plain and simple. Please vote NO on this development deal and make the use and development of this land (and the other land taken during Urban Renewal) part of your efforts at reparations.Draft an email with this message
What you might say to Dogwood Health Trust and Pisgah Legal Services:
I am reaching out to you today as a Black community member of Asheville to ask you to withdraw the support you are providing to the Haywood Street Congregation’s Asheland Avenue housing development deal.
More affordable housing is an attractive and necessary goal for our city. But the land being sold for this deal was taken in Asheville’s Urban Renewal process. It is being sold and developed with insufficient input from Black members of our community, who should be the ones to determine what to do with it, given how the City came to own it.
The City has committed to reparations for the harm caused to our communities by its discriminatory policies and practices (particularly those around land, home ownership, and housing). We are asking the City to honor that commitment by voting NO on this development and legitimately engaging the Black community on what to do with this land. Removal of your support from the project would help in halting the project to ensure justice for those from whom the land was taken in the first place.
Land taken during Urban Renewal should not be sold or otherwise distributed without consensus from the Black community, plain and simple. Please withdraw your support on this development deal so that we can ensure that the use and development of this land (and the other land taken during Urban Renewal) becomes part of the City’s efforts at reparations.Draft an email with this message
If you prefer to draft your own email, or communicate over the phone, here are the email addresses and phone numbers of members of City Council, Dogwood Trust, and Pisgah Legal.
You can email or call the City Council Members at the same time or individually:
- To email all Council Members at once – AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov
- Mayor Esther Manheimer – firstname.lastname@example.org; 828-259-5604
- Vice Mayor Sheneika Smith – email@example.com; 704-401-9104
- Sandra Kilgore – firstname.lastname@example.org; 954-540-5593
- Antanette Mosley – email@example.com; phone number not provided
- Kim Roney – firstname.lastname@example.org; 828-771-7265
- Sage Turner – email@example.com; 828-423-0621
- Gwen Wisler – firstname.lastname@example.org; 828-333-1767
Contact Pisgah Legal
Jim Barret, Executive Director
Contact Dogwood Health Trust
Vice President of Impact Investing for Housing
Please fill out this “report back” form so we know what action you have taken or are planning to take. There is further information about the Asheland Avenue project below.
Here’s more information about this project:
- Haywood Street Community Reverand Brian Combs’ presentation on Nov 5 –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARPH8AKT_SI&feature=youtu.be&t=4340
- The developer is GRACE Construction which is owned by one of Haywood St. Congregation’s long-time attendees.
- There appear to be 11 parcels acquired through the East Riverside Urban Renewal project that eventually made up, in part, the CoA property noted above. These parcels comprised one vacant lot, one church-owned property (believed to be the residence of a previous pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist church), and nine other structures that were home to families of varying sizes. Most of these were owner-occupied. The pastor, Reverend John W. White, was forced to relocate, along with his wife and daughter. They were denied relocation reimbursement for being over the limit.
- The total payment to owners for acquisition of the 11 properties was $94,050, and the total payment in replacement housing costs, rental assistance, and moving expenses, was $32,697.06, for a grand total of $126,747.06. Notably, a few residents’ family incomes were sufficiently high to make them ineligible for replacement housing assistance, something we’ve yet to see in the East End / Valley Street relocation files.
- Haywood Street Housing Executive Summary
- Ashland Avenue CoA Property Data