05NewsDigestViolent Deaths Down in Fayetteville

A near record-setting two-month period of no homicide investigations has significantly cut into the usual pattern of violent deaths in Fayetteville. The city was murder-free for eight weeks, officials said. The peaceful period was broken with the death of a woman June 18 at a home on Lamon Street near downtown. Her death was the ninth homicide of the year, compared to 16 murders recorded during the same period in 2016, said Lt. Todd Joyce. Last year, police had to deal with an all-time high record of 31 homicides.

Ballpark Design OK’d 

Design work for Fayetteville’s minor league baseball stadium has received final approval from city council. “Its unique features will make this one of the best ballparks in the country,” said Mike Sabatini, senior architect for Populous. Populous is a global sports architecture firm which designed the $33 million downtown Fayetteville stadium. 

The ballpark will be a multipurpose facility to accommodate football and soccer as well as baseball. It will also be used as an entertainment venue for live concerts. 

Main access will be from Hay Street between the Prince Charles building, which will be converted into affordable apartments, and a new eight-story hotel and parking deck where the off-street train station parking lot is now. 

Construction is expected to begin in mid-August and will take about 18 months to complete. The Advanced Single-A Houston Astros farm team will begin playing during the 2019 spring season. 

Can Haymount Be Pedestrian-Friendly?

Fayetteville urban planners say the Haymount five points commercial center is a busy auto-dominated area that could be transformed into an active people place. The idea is to make the area at the top of the hill more pedestrian-friendly. 

Longleaf Pine Realtors, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and others have applied for a Smart Growth Grant for a “Build a Better Block” event from the National Association of Realtors. The idea is to demonstrate how automobile-dominated streets can be transformed into places where cars, pedestrians and cyclists can coexist. The City of Richmond, Virginia, is among communities already developing such a plan. A YouTube video demonstrates the project: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCIJXZb-POs. 

A preliminary Haymount “Build a Better Block” Meeting was held last week to illustrate how local residents can co-exist in the commercial center of Haymount. “It will take three months to plan and implement the project,” said City of Fayetteville Urban Designer Eloise Sahlstrom. 

Former City Councilman to Run Again

Former City Council member Johnny Dawkins said he will file to succeed Bobby Hurst as Fayetteville’s District five councilman. 

“Fayetteville is once again at a crossroads. Will we begin to grow again and improve our quality of life, or will we continue to muddle along and accept the status quo?” Dawkins asked in a news release. “The simple answer is more jobs must be created. How do we create more jobs, grow our economy and produce a city in which our children and grandchildren will want to live, work and raise their children? The City Council must create an environment in which new businesses will start up and create an environment in which existing businesses will take risks, hire more workers and expand,” Dawkins added. “As a former City Council member and successful business owner for over 35 years, right here in Fayetteville, I have the leadership experience, vision, and job creation experience to serve as your Voice on the Fayetteville City Council,” Dawkins concluded. 

No. 2 at FAST Is Moving to the Triangle

The Fayetteville Area System of Transit is losing a valuable employee to the Cary Transit system. Assistant Transit Director Kelly Blazey has notified friends and colleagues at FAST that she will be resigning at the end of the month to take a post with the Town of Cary as the Transit Services Administrator beginning July 3. 

Blazey has been with the City of Fayetteville for several years, the last half dozen with FAST. Before that, she was in the finance department.                                             

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