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Ask Matt ... about Main Street mosaic

Q. What's the story behind the Rosdon Mall mosaic?

It's a cool story. If you have not heard of the Rosdon Mall you can find it downtown in the 300 block of Main Street. The mall was designed by architect Ken Gaylord and named by (and for) the owners – Rose Marie and Don Gladieux. The colorful mosaic over the entrance is titled "Nature in North Carolina" and was the work of a Russian artist named Basil Polevoy and his sister Lyudmila. Both were refugees from the Chernobyl area after the nuclear reactor accident in the Ukraine in 1986. According to Rose Marie Gladieux, "We wanted to give them work and to enliven the front of the building." Rose Marie remembered that the mall was the gateway to the former Belk store and that the Touchstone Gallery and the Black Bear Coffee shop were major tenants. The Children's Gallery (Hands On!) now occupies the rear part of the mall. The Gladieux family was known locally for their passion for animals. Don and Rose Marie founded the Animal Welfare Alliance. Don passed away in 2009.
Michael Arrowood of Henderson County also recalls the mosaic project, which was finished in 1993. He related that the colorful tile came from Mexico and that there was a rush to finish the project before cold weather set in. Michael, who speaks Russian, served as the translator for the Polevoys and got to know them well. "Basil Polevoy was once a brilliant and celebrated artist in the Ukraine," he said. "Sadly, his religious beliefs got him in trouble with the government and he was forced to work in a brick factory." Naples Baptist Church had a hand in bringing the Polevoys to Henderson County and Basil's first mosaic still can be seen at the church. Arrowood has lost contact with the artist but believes he still lives in Greenville, S.C.

Q. What is being built across from the Aldi store on Airport Road just up from Target?
Based on permits issued by Buncombe County, there are two probable tenants thus far for the new Landing Business Park – Dick's Sporting Goods and Kirkland's, a home décor shop. Dick's store is listed at $6 million and Kirkland's at $256,000. With a new Dick's store on the horizon, I'm thinking that either the recession is over or we all really need to get fit.

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Send us your questions about a local issue, event, sighting or anything that is puzzling you and Lightning's Matt Matteson will hunt for the answer. Email Matt at: