Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne recently took some time to reflect back on the achievements of 2010.
“In general we turned a big corner in 2010,” said Chavonne. “A lot of things we had in place started to pay dividends, and city residents started to see a difference.”
At the top of Chavonne’s list was the double digit decrease in crime in the city. He noted that the city police force had long been working to turn the tide on crime, and in 2010 it paid off.
“We made a lot of changes to be a more attractive community,” explained Chavonne. “And that has also paid off.”
He noted that in the past year the city has seen a rise in jobs and the per capita income of its residents. In fact, Fayetteville garnered the second highest increase in the country.
“These are some of the indicators that we have seen that show some of the changes we’ve made to be a more attractive, clean, peaceful city are working,” he said.
Chavonne added that while many people are looking to the future to see the impact of the Base Realignment and Closure move of U.S. Forces Command and the U.S. Reserve Command to Fort Bragg, the impact is already being felt.
“People are confused about BRAC,” said Chavonne. “We are seeing impacts now. We have had multiple ribbon cuttings for military contractors and we have seen new businesses opening because of the move. Next summer, the fl ag will be planted in the ground, but we are already benefitting from BRAC.”
Key in that benefit is the number of higher paying jobs that are coming to the community. “Whether people move here from Atlanta or the jobs are hired in our community, those jobs are still going to be filled, and their impact is going to be felt here.”
One of the city’s biggest strides forward was the passage of the Uniformed Development Ordinance, or UDO, that has been in the works for at least two years.
“This has been a two and a half year project to raise the standard for what our city looks like,” said Chavonne. “People came together and recognized that we were in a unique situation and that we had one shot to do this right.”
He noted that some incremental changes are being made now through the UDO, such as the addition of sidewalks in all new communities and the provision for more green and open spaces. The ordinance also addresses signage and other aesthetic qualities surrounding development.
“As we continue to raise the bar, we are going to see returns on those kinds of investments,” he said.
One of the big successes of 2010, was the funding for the completion of the I-295 loop from Ramsey Street to All American.
“That was huge for us,” said Chavonne. “We also gained our first 4-star hotel and convention center that is under construction now.”
In 2011 Fayetteville residents will have a lot to look forward to. Early in the year residents will begin moving into renovated and new homes in the Hope 6 development area.
In downtown, construction on the parking deck will begin and end in 2011, which will make parking easier for downtown visitors.
Veterans Park is also slated for completion on July 4. Chavonne believes that the park, and the increased tourist traffic it brings to the community, will have an aesthetic and an economic impact on the community.
He added that even though Fayetteville was not as affected by the economy as other counties, the city could see problems coming from a decrease in state funding due to budget shortfalls. “We are very cautious about that area right now,” said Chavonne. “I would say that is our biggest area of concern.”
And, if you haven’t sat in traffic lately, you should know that traffIc is also a big area of concern. “The city growth, and continued growth, will result in longer lines, so we are definitely going to be pushing for highway funding in 2011,” said Chavonne. “All of this is just part of the growing pains that we knew we could expect. We have to keep pushing the ball on some of the other traffic corridors like All American, Raeford Road and Ramsey Street.”