December 16, 2010

Town Square Through a Visitor’s Lens

A few weeks ago, Arlon Harris, lifelong resident of Western North Carolina, called to inquire about parking options in Biltmore Park Town Square. Through various conversations, I soon learned that Arlon is in a wheelchair, and I also discovered that he has a contagious eagerness and energy about him that most of us only ever strive to attain. He is passionate about the Asheville area, and he communicated his enthusiasm for Town Square with ease. “Biltmore Park is the total package,” he exclaimed one day over the phone. “It has an amazing vibe–like it’s been here fore years. It feels welcoming and lived in.”

Upon hearing that Arlon was planning a visit to Town Square as part of a photography project for two East Henderson High School seniors whom he mentors, I jumped at the chance to meet him. Just as he had explained over the phone, their group was an easy one to spot. With the students armed with cameras and Arlon in his high-tech iBOT wheelchair, they were already exploring different perspectives of Town Square through their lenses. After introductions, we ventured up into a few of the apartments so that they could get a bird’s eye view of Town Square Boulevard, where the final City Market of the season was taking place. Arlon was able to move around easily with elevators, convenient parking, and wide and sloping sidewalks, and he enjoyed taking in the warm autumn weather from the apartment balconies.

The students were also impressed with the apartments, and they later enjoyed a treat at Cold Stone Creamery before perusing some photography books at Barnes & Noble. As Arlon explained his decision to bring them to Town Square he said, “You want to get the shot, but it’s also about the experience. I’ve shown them the old, and with Town Square, I wanted to show them the new. It’s just totally awesome.” I think that Arlon paraphrased Biltmore Park well; it is an experience, and they took advantage of the many opportunities during their visit. From shopping and dining to living and working, Town Square provides visitors and residents with a mulititude of modern conveniences that are all within walking distance of one another, reflecting a sustainable and inspiring philosophy that Arlon and his students captured well in their photos and in their experience.