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17 downtown Asheville businesses in danger of closing because of pandemic, survey shows

State of downtown
During a virtual State of Downtown meeting, Asheville Downtown Association officials said the area is struggling, but improving. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Asheville Downtown Association held a virtual State of Downtown meeting, saying the situation in the area is struggling, but improving.

Mayor Esther Manheimer and Buncombe County Commission chairman Brownie Newman were part of the event.

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Executive director Meghan Rogers said equity and inclusion are top priorities for the association's strategic planning. She also said a survey of 93 downtown businesses showed 17 were in danger of closing because of economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I worry that when we lose our small local businesses, we lose some of the character of downtown," Rogers said. "And, I hope that with the second round of the PPP and the relaunch of the One Buncombe Fund we can help save these businesses."

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Rogers said the survey showed other top issues are parking, cleanliness, safety, homelessness and rent and cost increases.

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