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Ask Matt ... if Asheville's parking meters are smarter than ours

Asheville paid $900 each for its parking meters while Hendersonville opted for $16,000 kiosks that serve all the meters in each lot. Asheville paid $900 each for its parking meters while Hendersonville opted for $16,000 kiosks that serve all the meters in each lot.

Q. Asheville has replaced their downtown parking meters with stand-alone smart meters that take both cash and credit cards. Did Hendersonville ever consider these high tech meters?

Yes, they did but the decision was to go with the kiosk system. Asheville paid about $900 for each unit including installation. Asheville officials told me that even with paying the meter company a modest monthly fee they expect the average “pay off” for each smart meter is about one year. Asheville will eventually have 700 downtown meters that take credit or debit cards plus coins. The cost to park is $1.50 per hour which is slightly more than their downtown parking garages.
“It’s all about manpower,” said Hendersonville Public Works Director Tom Wooten. He has seven kiosk machines right now which cost about $16,000 each. The City likes the reduced maintenance the kiosk system offers compared to the old “lollypop” type meters. So where are those antiques now? All sold by the City and I suspect in somebody’s man cave. Asheville’s smart meters may serve their needs but at almost a full grand each, a would-be Cool Hand Luke should think twice before topping those meter heads.

Q. The daily newspaper no longer posts police, fire and EMS calls for the prior 24 hours. Is there a place where we can see those reports?

Yes, but not in printed form. According to Henderson County officials, the 911 center faxes daily incident reports to the Times-News every day just after midnight. The reports include law enforcement, fire and EMS response calls. You can get some of the same information by tuning in to WHKP at 6:00 am when the County’s 9-1-1 Center calls them in. If you are a late riser, try logging on to the Sheriff’s website and click on the “Crime Reports” link then drill down to the county map. This is a neat site that shows the exact time and location of recent thefts, burglaries, assaults, etc. You can customize your search by street address, search distance and time frame. Incidents reports are updated every 24 hours. You can also sign up to get online alerts as well. EMS calls however are not posted to this site. For Hendersonville residents, city police post monthly crime reports on its website and on Facebook. The city’s fire department keeps a detailed summary of calls on its website broken down by date, fire district and neighborhood.

Q. Now that the Kellogg property on Broyles Road is being leased to the YMCA, will walkers still be able to use the trails?

Officials from the YMCA of Western North Carolina confirmed that public use of the trails will be continued. In fact, the Y plans to organize hiking and gardening groups to better utilize and maintain the grounds. Nothing but deer and friendly bears in them woods.

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Send questions to askmattm@gmail.com.