by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The local daily has a segment suggesting Tunnel Road is becoming blighted. Truth be told, the area has been in the same stage of disrepair for at least twenty or thirty years. The Innsbruck Mall has always been highly uninhabited, but, more importantly, the cheap motels across the street have decades-old problems. When I did investigative reporting for a local paper, which no longer exists, a couple people had suggested I get a perch and watch the activity at the motels. When people got their Social Security checks, back before delivery dates were staggered, the places would be a hot party spot until all the money was spent. Requests to secure a vantage point on nearby property were all rejected, and a couple powers-that-were in city government seriously frowned on that idea. Within months, the wayward son of a mutual friend of mine and one of the powers-that-were died of an OD at one of the motels.
In peripheral tidbits, the article mentions Asheville’s point-in-time homelessness count for January showed a 57 percent increase over last year. We also learn the city doesn’t have the resources to patrol panhandling in the area, Mayor Esther Manheimer views social issues in the area as growing pains, and Councilman Chris Pelly thinks the problem could be controlled with more housing.