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Ask Matt ... about Kellogg, fiberglass bears and auto parts

Matt answers your questions.

Q. Why did they close the Kellogg Center in Horse Shoe?

The UNC Asheville Kellogg Center, a 55-acre conference center on Broyles Road, was also home to the UNC Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (CCC&D). As the Hendersonville Lighting reported, CCC&D relocated to Downtown Asheville after separating from the UNC system last spring. Left with no tenants, UNC Asheville locked the Kellogg Center gates on Sept. 27. The closure of the Kellogg Center, a Henderson County fixture since 1996, has stayed under the radar. "Closure was a result of budget cuts," Vice Chancellor John Pierce of UNCA said. Once a popular off-campus space for corporate and non-profit retreats, the facility was less often used in recent years.

The university is in the market for a tenant.
"We have no clients in mind but UNCA will be judicious in our decision-making," Pierce said. "For now, the walking trails are open." Building the one-mile walking trail and commissioning outdoor artwork was a result of several private grants handled by our Community Foundation. Very little of the Kellogg property is flat and so does not lend itself for development. Its highest and best use may still be a small regional conference center. Many may recall that the credit for securing and developing Kellogg Center was attributed to former Hendersonville attorney Sam Neill during his service on the UNC Board of Governors.

Q. How does the program with the Main Street bears work?

The Bearfootin' program it starts in the early spring when sponsors sign up for a "naked" bear. Fiberglass bears ($700 each) are shipped from Michigan and picked up by each sponsor, who selects an artist to decorate the bear. In April, the painted bears are unveiled and strategically placed along Main Street for public viewing until October, when they are auctioned in front of the courthouse. (This year's auction was last weekend.) Half of the auction proceeds are used for advertising and overhead and half go to a non-profit entity selected by the sponsor. The program, now in its 11th year, is managed by Lew Holloway, director of Downtown Hendersonville. In the past, apples and goats (Sandburg home connection) have been similarly adorned. I am told that one year a bear sold for more than $5,000. I like the bears but painted ladies would be a refreshing change and might raise more money. The public auction part might be a bit problematic.

Q. What are they building on Asheville Highway next to Advance Auto Parts?

That would be an O'Reilly's Auto Parts store. Probably O'Reilly's store No. 4,001. They say you can't have too many auto parts.

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Send Matt questions about a local issue, event, sighting or anything that is puzzling you and the Lightning's inquiring reporter will try to get an answer. Email Matt at: