Fayetteville City Council’s Parks Bond Committee is anxious for contractors to get shovels in the ground on projects authorized by voters in last spring’s $35 million referendum. It was the first Fayetteville parks bond issue of four others held in the last 50 years to be approved. The first bond issuance of $11 million is planned for next September, but council isn’t waiting until they have the money in hand to begin building. Mayor Nat Robertson would like to see work begin on seven splash pads right away. The projection is that $10 million will be spent during the first three years, said Recreation & Parks Director Michael Gibson.
A revised schedule has construction on the first five splash pads beginning next year. They’ll be placed at Myers Park Recreation Center, Kiwanis Recreation Center, Massey Hill and Dorothy Gilmore Rec Centers. A fifth site is in West Fayetteville at one of two locations. The last two splash pads will come on line in 2019. One of them will be on the grounds of the minor-league baseball stadium, downtown; the other in West Fayetteville. They’ll cost $7 million altogether. The city will borrow money from itself temporarily until bond proceeds begin to become available next fall.
Other projects to be funded by the first bond sale include a west side Senior Center at Lake Rim Park, a skateboard park and land acquisition for a tennis center, plus improvements to some existing parks. A master plan for a large multi-purpose sports complex will also be funded. The sports complex and tennis center are budgeted for a combined $15 million.
The second and final bond issuance will be in January of 2021, for $23.7 million to fund a downtown senior center adjacent to the new Rowan Street Bridge. The $6 million Cape Fear River Park will be the final project and is slated for construction in 2022-23. The State Local Government Commission requires that all bond projects be planned and built within seven years.
Mott McDonald Consultants projects that supplemental funding opportunities can be found in several potential grants. The consulting firm is managing the bond program for the city and reports regularly to City Council’s Parks Bond Committee. Additional funding sources include the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Connect NC statewide bond package, the Recreational Trails Program, Clean Water Management Trust Fund, DOT’s Strategic Transportation Improvement program and National Endowment for the Arts, plus numerous private foundations.