Lakeshore Heights is in north Asheville and includes areas west of Merrimon Avenue to Reynolds Place and Horizon Hill, bounded on the south by Sandon Road and on the north by Beaver Lake. The neighborhood consists of mostly single family homes with a few rental apartments. Most significantly Lakeshore Drive is used as a cut through for traffic coming off I-26 to reach businesses on Merrimon Avenue. This has proved to be a double-edged sword for the neighborhood as commercial traffic often races through the neighborhood making safe walking difficult, but offers easy access to I-26 for our neighbors.
Asheville’s Lakeshore Heights Neighborhood was formed in 2014 to advocate for sidewalks on Lakeshore Drive. There have been several efforts over the years to organize the community, usually in response to efforts to commercialize the neighborhood. They have dissipated over time but the neighborhood philosophy is to be organized and ready in the event a new challenge is thrown at us. The homes in the area date back to the early 1900s with some later in the mid-century. Colonial Heights was an area name and with the Lakeshore corridor running through the neighborhood the name Lakeshore Heights was chosen by the neighbors.
Lakeshore Heights Neighborhood Association is loosely organized. It has no formal structure; no officers or board of directors, dues, or by-laws. It works because the neighbors get to know each other, look after each other and share information through door-to-door flyers, an email list, and most recently has galvanized around the on-line platform Nextdoor. Our loose structure shows that there isn’t one size that fits all for an organized neighborhood and that being organized is so important for building our community.
We gather for an annual meeting, participate in neighborhood clean-up days, strongly support SLOW DOWN ASHEVILLE, and have an annual ice-cream social. We also have a team working on our Plan-on-a-Page to ensure our views are considered in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
Our demographics are changing as younger families with children are moving into the neighborhood as older people leave. This makes the need for sidewalks even greater. While some children can walk to the school bus stop on sidewalks, some must walk in the street.
Lakeshore Heights is in a prime location. Easy walking access takes us to Beaver Lake, the Audubon Sanctuary, and Jones Elementary School playground. For goods and services, we can easily walk to Stein-Mart, Ace Hardware, four banks, three grocery stores, two pharmacies, bike shops, several restaurants and pizza places, and the North Asheville Public Library. For a few extra steps we can walk to UNCA, the post office, more restaurants and another pharmacy. And we have ART bus service on Lakeshore Drive to easily get to downtown and UNCA.
We are hoping to develop a relationship with the businesses that border on our neighborhood; we want them to thrive and to support our community. And we also don’t want commercial development to encroach on our residential areas. On our agenda for this year is to organize a neighborhood watch with the help of Asheville Police Department. Our community is safe and we want to keep it that way.
Lakeshore Heights is a great place to live; safe, convenient, friendly, and like so many other Asheville neighborhoods, in need of more sidewalks.
Written and submitted by Phil Lenowitz.
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