The safety provided by the trees of Asheville is unmatched. Not to mention their beauty, their ability to harbor homes for wildlife, and their inevitable nostalgia that seeps through old cores.
There is a large Sycamore tree that sits on the other side of a fence built on the property line of The Grey Eagle, the oldest music venue in Asheville. This area is where the Patio Shows take place as soon as the weather shows signs of warming. These shows employ talented, regional bands that play on an ethereal outdoor, covered stage.
The aforementioned Sycamore casts a helpful and peaceful shadow on a portion of the patio, where concertgoers can sit, eat, drink, and listen. The breeze that the Sycamore provides assists in making the whole Patio Show experience at The Grey Eagle something magical. There is often a hawk or two flying above the venue, as nests appear in this Sycamore in the spring.
In addition to it’s aesthetic and emotional benefits, a large Sycamore such as the one at The Grey Eagle will intercept around 7,239 gallons of stormwater runoff in a year according to the National Tree Benefit Calculator. Asheville receives plenty of rain and can use all the help it can get with flood infrastructure. What is better than a natural solution? There are also CO2, energy, and air quality benefits.
However, a construction project has begun on the side of the fence where the Sycamore lies. On January 10, The Grey Eagle inquired over email with a principal planner of the project about whether or not the Sycamore would stay. He responded that according to their final plans, the tree would stay.
Unfortunately, The Grey Eagle is fearful that these words are no longer true, and that the fate of this Sycamore is sealed based on the damage that construction on the Artful Way property has already inflicted to its roots.
The project has also uprooted a small, slightly younger forest behind the venue property. At the very least, The Grey Eagle would like to raise awareness with the city and developers to know that what they’ve done is frustrating. Representatives of The Grey Eagle state that it is understandable that Asheville is a growing city, but the ways in which people and businesses are choosing to implement change is unsustainable and harmful to humans and the environment alike. At the very least, it would be noble for those involved to promise and follow through on plans that would add a lot of green to their space.
Nothing can replace this old Sycamore, but if change has to happen, it should be done the right way.
For additional information and to sign a petition to save the Sycamore tree at The Grey Eagle, please visit https://www.change.org/p/save-the-sycamore-that-hangs-over-the-grey-eagle-patio.
Written by Jess Fox, The Grey Eagle.