The future of the 40+ acre Beacon Mill property remains uncertain, despite the County’s announcement over the summer that it was funding a master plan for a proposed redevelopment of the site by Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO), a local nonprofit. Preliminary plans for the redevelopment included affordable housing, retail shops, light industrial businesses, and park and green spaces.
According to an article in the October 9 edition of the Black Mountain News, Gordon Myers (who owns the site along with the estate of Bob Ingle) recently stated that MHO’s proposed mixed-use development is still under consideration but is not a done deal. Other options for the property, including an industrial park, are also being considered. Myers said he expects a decision about the property’s future will be made by the fall of 2014.
Buncombe County Commissioner Ellen Frost, who represents much of Swannanoa and is excited about the MHO proposal, expressed concern that some residents of the area may have thought the “workforce” housing proposed by MHO was government housing for the very poor, rather than affordable housing. Frost said that this misconception might have caused some residents to react negatively to the original plan. The Black Mountain News article quotes Frost as saying that “whatever goes in needs to boost the community which was jarred by the plant’s closing in 2002 and destruction by fire a year later. The folks that live there, their lives need to be richer for it.”
If you have questions about the MHO proposal or want to express your views about the redevelopment of the Beacon Mill site, please contact Commissioner Frost at firstname.lastname@example.org. See the related story entitled “And the Survey Says . . .” to read about what some of your fellow Swannanoa residents would like to see at the mill site.