Asheville City Council candidate interview — Keith Young

by David Forbes October 30, 2015

One of the biggest decisions Council’s going to face in these next four years is the overhaul of the UDO. If elected, what’s going to be your priority for those rules?

How that affects short-term rentals and allowing more development projects to make it in front of City Council.

If we can get more developments in front of City Council moving forward, that’s a good way to tailor the growth going forward. Of course, we won’t be able to change everything. But we’ll be allowed to have a general say in what happens in city growth.

On that note, would you be in favor of looking at revising or reversing the changes made in the Downtown Master plan that took more developments away from Council review?

The goal is to get more in front of City Council moving forward, so any changes that would apply to that, I’m for.

On idea you’ve been a proponent of has been land banks. Specifically, what do you see as the need for that proposal and going forward, what would be the plan or the funding for it?

I think we need to look into federal funding for that program. I’m not necessarily how the restrictions on our affordable housing trust fund on already-procured land from the city and how we fund that, so I think we need to look toward the federal government.

I think we had a very successful program back int eh early ’80s, the adopted name was the ‘dollar lot’ program. The area of the East End where Martin Luther King [Drive] is, that neighborhood was rebuilt based on those programs, based off of procuring land from the dollar lot program. My parents were one of the beneficiaries of that, they were able to purchase land at a very low price based off of a bid and use it for collateral, build a home and their mortgage payment remained the same. From the time I was five until the time I graduated college, they were paying the same amount on their mortgage. It allowed them to remain in one space and their cost of living in a home was affordable. Now they have homeownership and that’s something they can pass on down the road.

What it did was allow affordable housing to become permanent for generations to come, not just for a small segment of time. You have these proposals for developments to throw in affordable housing and sometimes there’s limits on how long you can do that, how long you want to do that.

That’s more along the home ownership line. But also, when you look at land banks, you can look at what the county has done. They partnered with State Employees Credit Union and said ‘look, we can’t attract good teachers because they can’t afford to live here.’ So they went out and solved the problem. That was an awesome thing, we could mirror that and work with the county a lot more. When I ran for county commission affordable housing was a big deal for me. There are a lot of tools that the county has in their toolbox that they could be using to help this affordability crisis.

Now, this isn’t a county election, but I think we could utilize some of the tools in their toolbox if we partner together and figure out creative ways to quell the affordable crisis.

Also, with the affordable housing trust fund, we need to make sure it’s fully funded. We need to look at how we use density to improve our use of property, giving density bonuses to some developers.

I’m not exactly sure about the legality of inclusionary zoning and where that falls. But if that’s something we can do, it’s definitely something we should look at. We’ve got a lot of ammunition we can throw at this thing. I think at this point in time it’s kind of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. But we’ve got to be very strategic about what we do, because we do have limited resources.

That really bugs me with what’s going on with the state legislature. We’re getting beat up, bad. Losing that business privilege license, that took a lot of money out. The fight over our water system. We’re just getting beat up all around from the state. We’ve got great people here that represent us, but we’ve got to figure out some way to get on the good side. Otherwise they’re going to make life a living hell for Asheville and they’ve already started doing that. It makes budgeting for things that you want to do hard. All of the candidates are progressive, we all share some similar ideals. We may look at problems and policies through different lenses, but what’s going to make our job harder moving forward is what do you choose not to fund? What do you choose to cut back on? What do you choose not to do?

Then you’ve got all these people from all these different walks of life. You’ve got a lot of people in the African-American community, they’re like ‘economic development for African-Americans, deal with gentrification, police misconduct, reviving African-American communities.’ In Eagle Market street, when you look at that area, the conversations over the years have always talked about development, as in buildings, but they never talked about economic development of the African-American community. I don’t know if it was recognized that that development destroyed the African-American economic hub.

With urban renewal?

It started with that parking deck way on the end, there were a lot of African-American businesses there. They were torn down, boom, parking deck. My barber, Georgia Muckelvene, she had a spot on the Block, then she moved this little building on the corner [on Southside Avenue] right before you get up to McDowell, right before Lee Walker Heights, that was her barber shop. That was a black-owned business they just tore down; she died about 12 months ago. Her businesses moved out, a bunch of businesses moved out. Then some black-owned businesses that were trying to come up, they had to move out for the Eagle Market street development, I get it. They weren’t offered a right of return to come back. They don’t have to be offered a right of return. I get how capitalism works, but if you’re looking at how our growth in the city affects everybody, then you’ve got to look at the African-American community too.

On that note, one of the concerns a number of neighborhoods — especially those with plans like Burton Street and Shiloh — have been the way the city deals with infrastructure historically. Do you think the way the city deals with infrastructure in historically African-American communities needs to change?

I think the way the city deals with the African-American community in general needs to change. I think we’re non-existent on some aspects. I think the people in office rely heavily on virtually no one to craft their opinions or planning on what happens in the African-American community.

For instance, I’ve heard Vice Mayor [Marc Hunt] talk about turning public housing into mixed-income developments, which I can’t completely agree with. I understand where that thought process comes from and the aspects that it’s supposed to build better communities, that it’s supposed to be viable to all parties when you have folks from different walks of life living alongside each other. But there are a lot of programs that are going on inside Asheville Housing Authority that we need to get people within public housing using.

For instance, they have this wonderful program for homeownership. Usually the qualm about public housing is that if you make more money your rent goes up but if you’re in this homeownership program and you start making more money and your rent goes up, they match this difference into an escrow account, which you can use for like a down payment or whatever. That gets you on economic footing to own a home. I think that’s beneficial to the people that are there. They’re paying their rent but their money’s basically going into a savings account. On top of that, once you get a home the authority will assist you with your payments up to 15 years. That’s very beneficial, but you don’t hear about those kind of programs. In income inequality, home ownership allows you equity, money in your home that you can draw on and it gives you an added financial stability that people don’t think about.

You were talking about affordability programs. Another topic that’s been broached is the topic of incentives for small-level rental landlords and homeowners. Is that something the city’s going to look at and what form might that take?

I’m not against it. I think that whatever we do, we’ve got to have a solid, comprehensive strategic plan on what our goals are, how we’re going to accomplish that, where’s the money going to come from, the timeline for implementation, what results do we expect from this during a certain timeline. We can, like I said, throw everything at the wall and see if it sticks, but we’ve got to do it in a smart way if that’s something we believe can work, along with a couple other things.

The main thing is money. If you’ve got money, you’ve got half a plan. We’ve got to have that affordable housing trust fund fully funded and then see where that falls on our goals. I think right now we’re just Chicken Little with the sky falling and I don’t think we necessarily know what to do to make it right. We assume we know what to do, we’ve got all these great ideas. But what are best practices around the country for municipalities our size? Are there municipalities are size that are going through the same thing? What have they done to help the situation? This isn’t the first time a city’s experienced growing pains and I think that’s what Asheville is going through, aside from the gentrification.

You mentioned a moment ago that there are a number of issues where the city doesn’t listen to the African-American community. When it comes to what the city controls — sidewalks, the way it prioritizes improvements — does that need to change?

They just came out with this new deal where they made this hierarchy of prioritization of sidewalks, which I thought was pretty cool.

That [fulfilling the Shiloh and Burton Street plans] has to do with the people you elect to Council making sure those plans are implemented strategically.

At [Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods] forum, we talked about how — not just the African-American community — there’s this underlying issue of communities feeling like they don’t have skin in the game, they don’t have people hearing what’s being said. So let’s encourage communities to organize, to come up with a strategic plan for their community, what they want it to look like. Then, aside from that, let’s dedicate some specific time to all these communities to get their specific ideas in front of Council, outside of a meeting, where we have dedicated time for those organized communities to present their strategic plans. Then we work that into what the city’s plan looks like and how we move forward on these issues. OF course you’re not going to be able to tackle everything. But when you line the issues in these communities up apples to apples, some of these issues overlap. They’ve got some of the same issues, once you go from the African-American community to East Asheville they have some of the same problems they just don’t know it or don’t think they know it. Let’s line some of these strategic goals up and start attacking them in that way, getting these voices heard and having them implemented. Of course, we’re not going to be able to implement everything on a community’s strategic plan. But at least we can start addressing them and attacking them and their top issues gets addressed.

Whoever we elect, it’s going to be the real deal. We’ve got to get down and dirty on the budgetary issues. Who you elect for the next four years is going to affect — and I say it because I mean it — what we look like for the next 30 years. Either we’re going to turn the faucet down a bit on development or we’re going to let it loose and we’re going to have more hotels, chain stores are going to start creeping in, Asheville’s going to lose its identity. Then the bubble’s going to burst, all these places that are very expensive are going to be run down, or short-term rentals or whatever they’re going to be.

Short-term rentals have also obviously been a very hotly debated issue. You’ve mentioned that you’re opposed to Council’s step to increase the fines and strengthen the current ban. What do you view as the problems with the ban and what’s your response to concerns that if it goes too far it’s basically going to kick a bunch of renters out of their housing?

You’ve got to find a balance with the needs of the neighborhood and the needs of the individual. You’ve got genuine good folks who own property. Heard a story earlier today about a lady who owns a place and goes and stays with her partner on the weekend and rents her space out to make some ends meet. The neighbors started noticing all the different plates on the cars and figured she just had a diverse group of friends. They finally realized she was doing short-term rentals. I think you’d be foolish to think it’s going to stop: people are going to operate these things underground, it’s not going to stop.

We’ve got to find the balance and what that looks like. I don’t know necessarily what the city’s goals are now. I think it’s probably to get us past the election until someone else can deal with the problem, maybe kick the can down the road. But once that can is done being kicked after the election, we’ve got to get in and figure out how we facilitate more conversations. I don’t know what our legal abilities to totally regulate STRs but we have very advantageous goals of funding other things in the city and how can we use short-term rentals as a part of that stop-gap to increase funding somehow.

I think we definitely need to look into it. This industry is huge, and it’s not going to stop, so how can we benefit from it and how can we keep the neighborhoods in harmonious accord. Do we limit it? A lot of this could come with our general assembly. Nothing there is promised either, but we’ve got to continue the conversation and figure out how we can benefit from it. I’m conflicted, it’s tough, but I still lean to ‘they’re not going away’ and the way the city’s currently dealing with it is a ‘kick the can’ issue.

You also mentioned the proposals for public housing. The city’s going to participate in the development of Lee Walker Heights and that comes in the middle of some disagreements between residents and the Housing Authority over evictions, redevelopment and a number of other issues. If elected, would you make the city’s participation in any deal contingent on the approval of the Residents Council?

The Residents Council is supposed to be for the majority of public housing from a residents point of view. It kind of looks like the three branches of government: someone has to have the ultimate say, the Residents Council definitely needs to be at the table. Whether or not they have the last word is a different story, but they need to have some sort of a stopgap. Their opinions matter, their voices matter and they do need to have some sort of power to influence decisions on that accord. What that looks like, I don’t know. Whether we include ideas for them in a plan, I don’t know. But it gives them a little more authority, you’re giving them a little bit of power that they don’t even have right now. How does that affect their decision-making? I think it brings them a little bit closer to the table to want to work with you because they have skin in the game.

I think that’s a good idea but I’m not sure who gets the last word on that. What happens with the Housing Authority? Gene Bell definitely has to be there, David Nash definitely has to be there. Council, Gary Jackson, the Residents Council have to be there. I definitely support having some sort of stopgap measure but not the ultimate gavel because government, in our locality, doesn’t work that way. But that does bring them closer to the table, to being able to work with on a level of ‘we trust you.’

I think a lot of that has to do with ‘we don’t trust you.’ I think a lot of it boils down to that they don’t trust the city and why should they? They haven’t been given a reason to. People may argue with that, but that’s how the residents feel.

The Southside Advisory Board has launched a petition and asked the city to renovate and upkeep the Walton Street Pool. If elected, what’s going to be your position on that?

I’d like to see our Parks and Rec programs improved all around, the Walton Street pool included. In a perfect utopia, I would envision our parks and rec aquatics program looking like Greenville County in South Carolina. That would be awesome, I’d love to see that. I’d be interested to know what kind of revenue Greenville County brings in based on their water parks.

There’s a lot of people I know who travel down there during the summertime and utilize those areas. My family, we have a family reunion down there every year as a homebase because my family’s from South Carolina. I’d just be interested to see what those numbers are, what type of investment it took go get it up to that level and if it’s paying off. If it is, can we replicate that here with the county, even if it’s one little water park?

But the improvement of our system is needed for the quality of life of the people in that area. I support it, I signed the petition. My campaign actually paid for, unbeknownst to anyone who started the petition, the circulation of the petition on social media. When I first saw that from Priscilla [Ndiaye, chair of the Southside Advisory Board] I think they had something like a little less than 100 signatures. So we paid to have it advertised on Facebook and I think, within 24 hours, they were up to 500 signatures. We haven’t paid for it since, but that’s the level of commitment that I have in my community.

Someone brought it up as an issue on their platform, I think it needs to be looked at as a broader issue: how can we improve the quality of life? Yes, save the Walton Street Pool. But if you’re looking at save the Walton Street pool for the poor black people, you’ve got to look at all the other issues too. So, in my opinion, I don’t want people to be tricked by that issue. I think it’s been brought up as a ‘save the poor black people’s pool.’ It does need to be improved, that’s true, but let’s look at all the other issues going on in our community: gentrification, income inequality, the possibility of the face of public housing being changed for generations to come. When you look at wanting to improve life in the African-American community, look at all those issues and not just the pool.

I can say I support the pool. Who’s not going to say they support issues in a community they don’t have footing in, they don’t have skin in the game in. I keep using these cliché terms because they’re true. But I want that to be conveyed too, so it’s not just ‘what’s an issue we can get votes from the black community on?’ That’s how it’s been reiterated to me and that’s how I see it.

[In Greenville] they’ve got these water parks and in every park they’ve got one at the foot of the mountain and people here travel down there all the time. So I wonder what kind of investment that took and is it paying for itself and bringing money in. Is that something we could replicate on a small scale here. Yeah, save Walton Street, but why not save it and make it better than the parks around it? But again, we’re faced with so many money issues it’s kind of like you’ve got utopia on one hand and revelations in the other. Where do you find the fine balance between those two?

One of the issues that has gotten some attention is the explosion in the number of hotels downtown. With the UDO overhaul coming up, do you think it’s time to look at restrictions or changes in the way the city allows hotels?

Yeah, it’s time. When the city made changes earlier that made all those projects not come in front of City Council I think there was an honesty level that was ‘we could use the development, we could use the extra tax base’ and growth was encouraged. That kind of streamlined the process. Now that we’ve achieved that, we don’t necessarily have to turn the faucet off, but we need to turn the flow down a little bit, get those back in front of Council.

So we’re going to make changes. I think changes are going to be inevitable. We can’t sustain the growth. How many hotels do we have downtown already? Including the ones that are already here?

I counted 11 new ones in process at one point.

That’s saturation, supply and demand. We’re on the upside of that supply and demand curve. At some point in time it’s got to work itself out. We have some good problems, we just have to make sure we get ahead of them so we don’t have a damn ghost town again.

Wouldn’t it suck to have all these hotels and they aren’t full, no ones in them and it goes from upscale, off-brand Hilton or something like the old place that used to be beside the Civic Center. I’d hate to see all these places go from boutique hotels to the interstate motel. Then you have a blight on your city and no one wants to come here for that.

One of the other parts of downtown that’s attracted a lot of attention is the plot of land across from the Basilica. You’ve said you’re in favor of keeping that a public, city-owned space. What’s your reasons for that and what’s your response to the criticism that it would cost too much?

It’s already in the downtown master plan that that should be some sort of open space, that’s one. Two, the discontent with development downtown. Three, the overwhelming number of people who’ve voiced their concern — over 4,000 — about that being some sort of open space.

So here’s where I fall on it: all those issues plus I can’t sell you my house and tell you that you have to paint it red or you have to plant an oak tree in the yard or you’ve got to put a compost pile somewhere. You can’t do that. SO why are we even contemplating why we can even tell a developer what to do with their property once they get it?

Yeah, we can try. We can do it in good faith. The developer can, in good faith, say ‘we’ll do that and we’ll abide by that.’ But at the end of the day it boils down to either the city owns the property and the people get to hold onto it a little bit longer and figure out what they want in a green space and they have the ability to say ‘this is what we want in that property.’ I think a lot of voters are feeling that the current Council just aren’t listening to them on this development. I think it’s come to the point where not only do that not want any more hotels, they don’t want any sort of development happening downtown right now.

The process was streamlined before, we got our boom, I’d be foolish to think development’s not going to continue, but we need to figure out how we’re going to turn down the tap on this. The people feel the same way. We’ve got to start looking at the folks that live here. How are we addressing their concerns and needs. Everything we’ve done so far has catered towards tourism. Yes that’s the economic driver of our area, but what about the people that are invested in the long term. The people that own homes here, that live and walk and frequent these businesses downtown in the offseason and they feel like they’re not being listened to.

The city either owns it — and we give those folks a say in it — or we sell it and we try to act like we can convince a developer to do what we want with the property. I think that’s misleading to say ‘we want some sort of plaza’ but you’re going to sell it, right? When you sell it, you don’t really get the say-so in it, regardless of what agreements you have.

We can put a height limit on it with the UDO or whatever but at the end of the day something’s going to be built there if you sell it. No one’s going to sell it to a private developer to build a public plaza and that’s it. The way that people are right now, development is making folks sick and they’re not being heard. That’s what I get and it’s vitriolic, it’s ‘I don’t want to see another g-d building downtown’ and then they start talking about chain stores.

Well yeah. When you get more development guess what starts creeping in? Chain stores, they start creeping in. There’s money to be made. I think once you start losing that quirkiness, that localness, that eclecticness, you start to lose Asheville. And then we become Anywhere, U.S.A.

And on the criticism from City Council members and some others that this would cost too much money?

It costs too much money to build a park that we haven’t planned for yet? That’s like me saying it costs too much to build a house I haven’t built yet and it costs too much for me to pay the electric bill on the house when I don’t even know what the electric cost is. Where are they getting these numbers from? Are they just pulling them out of thin air? Because I also haven’t built my dream house: my dream house could be a tiny home.

You don’t even know what it looks like. I didn’t know it cost $4 million to plant grass. If it does, I’m in the wrong business, I need to get out of the public sector and into the grass selling business, sell me some nice cultured grass for $4 million. Lowe’s must be making a killing.

One of the issues you mentioned earlier was the impact of I-26 and the state just unveiled some plans on that which seem to run counter to a lot of what the city and locals have been saying they wanted for a long time. Does the city’s approach on this need to change and if elected, what would your approach to I-26 be?

You’ve got people who genuinely believe they have the city’s best interests at heart; I’m talking about folks who go back-and-forth about environmental studies, back and forth about where greenways connect and why don’t greenways connect a certain way and why aren’t there bike lanes. Then you’ve got the folks who are just like ‘get it done.’

Ultimately we have a voice but we don’t necessarily have a say in what DoT does. How do you change the way the city looks at that? Since I was in elementary school. I’m 35 years old, I’m running for City Council and I’m going to address the same issue when I was learning about my ABCs and 123s? People have died since this issue was brought up. So you’ve got to have some sense of urgency.

Yes, we definitely want to get it right, but to what extent? I can say I need a car and I’m going to buy this car but the color just isn’t right or the leather just isn’t right. I want different types of wheels, I want a certain engine an right before I want to buy it the next model comes out and I like the new model better and I do the same thing with the next model. I want to change the color, I want ot change the wheels, I want to change the interior. Right before I get ready to decide, guess what? I’ve taken so long another model’s come out. It’s a perpetuating cycle that goes on and on. At some point in time you’ve got to push the button and say ‘we’re not going to get everything we want, but we have enough that will sustain our city on a number of levels for years to come.’ The 20-30 years it took to get here? We’ll be able to live with what we got for 60-90 years.

That’s what I’m looking at, I’m looking at some time you’ve got to be able to press the ‘go’ button and say ‘you didn’t get everything you wanted, but you got what we needed.’ We have to figure out when we push the button and say ‘we’re ok with that’ and if even we’re not and they decide to do it, it’s going to happen, right?

How does that balance with the ‘devastating,’ in your words, possible impact on Burton Street?

Same thing: you fight your hardest to get it right. You don’t lessen the fight, you fight your hardest to get it right, rather that be greenways or bike lanes, how the traffic moves, what routes are being taken, what’s being cut off. I haven’t read the whole 38 pages [of the latest state I-26 plans] yet, but you’ve got to fight to get it right. But at some point in time, while people in government don’t want to say ‘there are winners and losers in fights,’ yes there are.

You either win it or you lose it sometimes. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it half-right, sometimes you get it totally wrong.

We’re not looking for totally wrong. I don’t think we’re going to get it totally right, we’re looking for that middle ground. We don’t want to devastate another community and send people out of their homes. That needs to be stressed. A lot of folks have issues with where the greenways go or whether it connects. You’ve got people who are going to lose their fricking homes. That should be the main thingL everything else should be secondary. We can choose to walk or not walk on the greenway but these folks are going to have an issue where they can’t chose whether or not they’re going to lose their home because of eminent domain. That should be the main issue.

That’s what I bring to the table. People are looking at this from all different angles. You’ve got people looking at this from the design aspect and where everything is. Yes, that’s great, that’s what it’s there for. But what’s the other issue? You’ve got people that are going to lose their homes. Let’s deal with that first.

Since 2012 the city has not had a staffer specifically to deal with just the arts in Asheville. Does that need to change? What other ways should the city look to change its approach to the arts community?

I support the arts community, but we’ve got a lot more pressing issues right now. I’m pretty sure that wil tick folks off. But we’ve got more pressing issues now. We were just talking about one: folk are going to lose their homes. We’ve got a lack of funding in our coffers for certain things we want to do that are very advantageous.

Hiring another city staffer right now may not be on the books. Hey, if everything works out right and everything pans out and our money issues become more buoyant, sure, I don’t have anything against it. But I know for some folks that might be their main issue. Every community I’ve gone into they have a main issue.

One of Council’s biggest tasks is to oversee and provide scrutiny on the city manager. Gary Jackson’s been in office for 10 years and that’s seen everything from a AAA bond rating to major issues in the Asheville Police Department. What’s your assesment of Jackson’s leadership and, if elected, what would be your approach to bring scrutiny to his actions and the actions of city staff?

The average lifespan of a city manager? Five to seven years. How long has Gary been there? He’s survived. My main concern is, once elected, is not what Gary Jackson has done in the past but if the vision of City Council is not met moving forward, in the way we want to shape our city, then we’ll find somebody else to do the job.

It’s got to be: City Council puts forward the strategic plans and what we want our city to look like and our city manager makes that happen as a general, directing all city agencies up under him. I don’t have a problem with Gary Jackson, but I’m not afraid to change and if it needs to be changed for our city to move in a different direction, then so be it, I commend him for his 10 years of service.

Who else are you voting for in this election?

People’s ballots are sacred. That’s all I’ll say, you can get what you want from it.

Is there anything else you’d like to bring up?

With our multimodal component, here’s the things I’d like to see. I’d like to ask a question first: why is a bus expected to leave downtown Asheville and travel to the airport and make it back on time. I think that’s silly. I can’t do that in my car and a bus has to stop.

So why do we only have one terminal? In a perfect utopia if we have all the money we need for our transit system we can fully fund extra buses to heighten frequency and we can fund extra terminals to shorten route lengths and times, that would be ideal. I think we do need to address it.

I would also like to see more protected bike lanes. I’m not a biker, I haven’t been on a bike in some time. But I do understand the importance of protected bike lanes. The more bike lanes we can get the better, the more protected bike lanes even better. Vehicles generally don’t seem to respect people on two wheels. I’ve seen it: people get real close just doing spiteful crap. You’re in your car and you’re travelling at a high rate of speed or whatever. But I can’t imagine having my kids out and trying to move around the city and folks are putting their lives on the line, getting run off the road by cars. So we need more bike lanes.

Infrastructure is very important. I think the hierarchy the city has placed on sidewalks is a decent start. We can build from that.

In a perfect utopia I want to see our greenways connected. I think more folks would use them if they spread throughout the city. That’s another way to get these folks on bicycles off the road to travel in a protected environment. I’d love to see the city implementing bike sharing programs. So here’s what it looks like: bike sharing programs in downtown, bike sharing programs along connected greenways, bike sharing programs along corridors with connected buses. How do you pay for it? Why not have one of the breweries or one of the businesses sponsor a bike-sharing program, ‘bike sharing presented by Hi-Wire brewing.’ That’s one way we can offset the cost on the bike-sharing program.

I think there is an apprehension of connecting our greenways without paving them. I think we need to look into changing that. Maybe if we make the first step in connecting our greenways through natural paths we can come back around and have some paving options. At least you’ve got the ball rolling. I think we need to go ahead and try to get some of these things now, because I understand money is an issue and when money comes along go back and permanently pave them.

A lot folks in the African-American community don’t walk on the the greenway system? You know why? Because they’re not in their community. They don’t travel over to Montford and go up to the Reid Creek greenway. They’ve got $14 million going into the River Arts District. That would be a good start to putting some of that in that community so it can be utilized. Whether or not they choose to utilize it, the opportunity needs to be there. That’s part of the whole vision, of inclusiveness.

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