Parks Bond Issue Supported

Come the first of the year, the Fayetteville City Council is likely to better define the scheduled March 15 bond referendum. So far, officially, the council has only agreed to hold a referendum asking for voter approval of up to $35 million in bond debt. The projects included for funding are not outlined in the bond issue by state law. Passage would result in a two-cent tax rate increase.

The city administration has packaged a two-fold plan to expand and improve recreation and parks facilities. Only part of the plan is included in the referendum. Another part is a proposed public/private lease agreement by which the city would have a $28 million combination multi-purpose and senior center built, with the city leasing the facility from the developer. Recreation Director Michael Gibson says it would be about the size of a Wal-Mart Superstore. According to Reuters, the average Wal-Mart Superstore is about 178,000 square feet in size.

Some members of council, like Jim Arp, Mitch Colvin and Bill Crisp, appear ready to avoid confusion and separate the two projects. They believe voters will be more likely to support the bond issue if they clearly understand that the multi-purpose senior center would come later, and could be downsized to avoid another tax increase.

Build It and They Will Come…

Fayetteville City Manager Ted Voorhees, Deputy Manager Rochelle Small-Toney and City Councilman Larry Wright spent several days in Nashville earlier this month to learn more about whether it would make sense to build a baseball stadium near downtown. Minor League Baseball, Major League Baseball and their affiliated parties gathered at Gaylord’s Opryland Resort & Convention Center for their 114th annual meeting. 

The Fayetteville representatives did not return with concrete answers. “Physical facility requirements were not discussed, as it is premature at this point,” said Small-Toney. “If a stadium is built, these standards would be included in the design of the facility.” When asked whether any baseball franchise was prepared to make a commitment if the city agrees to build a stadium, she said, “We are not in this phase of the process.” Small-Toney did say a stadium that would meet baseball standards would cost between $30 million and $60 million.

She elaborated, “What could be a possibility is joint ownership of the facility, which would likely mean splitting the cost of building and maintaining the stadium. Small-Toney is on record that Major League Baseball considers Fayetteville a viable market for a single A or double A minor league team. 

 Maverick’s Arson Investigation Ongoing

Fayetteville Police have been stymied in their efforts to solve an arson fire at a small lounge in September. Detectives are still seeking information about the fire that destroyed Maverick’s Saloon on McPhee Drive near Raeford Road. “There are no new developments,” says Police Lt. David McLaurin. The preliminary investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally set. Fire officials indicated the place may have been fire bombed. 

An adjacent club, Paddy’s Irish Pub, is expanding into the former saloon whose owner decided to sell rather than rebuild. 

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