jeff8Residents of the Rayconda neighborhood in West Fayetteville have not gotten along particularly well with the City of Fayetteville since their annexation by the city 10 years ago. Like other suburban residents on the west side, the so-called big bang annexation became a bone of contention. But now, residents are beginning to appreciate the city services they receive. When the neighborhood was subdivided, county government standards allowed a single roadway, Siple Avenue,  in and out of the community. Siple Avenue crosses an earthen dam that splits Keith lake into two sections. The dam was heavily damaged last month when a utility culvert beneath the street ruptured during Hurricane Matthew.  The road was closed because of the damage beneath it. The city had assumed responsibility for the street, but as is often the case with dams, it belongs to and is therefore the responsibility of the homeowners association. For three weeks, residents were cut off from the rest of the city. “This is a mess,” said Freddy Rivera, president of the homeowners association. 

The city and its contractor worked seven days a week to make repairs to Siple Avenue, which reopened for all traffic on Oct. 28., two weeks ahead of schedule.  But for the lake to be fully impounded, the levee must be replaced by a more structurally sound dam, which isn’t likely to occur anytime soon, if at all. A new road at a different location is the only permanent solution to the problem facing the more than 230 residents of Rayconda.  

That’s something the city became aware of sometime ago. Design work on the new street into the neighborhood was all but complete when the city had to turn its attention to Siple Avenue following the hurricane. With repairs finished there, work has resumed on development of a 1,000-foot city street at the other end of the neighborhood. It will connect Rayconda directly to Raeford Road at the traffic light near the VA Healthcare Center. It will link up to Pinewood Terrace, said City Engineering and Infrastructure Director Rob Stone. But land clearing and construction could easily take a year or so, said Stone. For now, Siple Avenue will continue to be Rayconda’s life-line to the rest of the community.

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