02Center Pub penFor decades, I have used this column to opine about issues that affect the quality of life in this community. On some rare occasions, I have yielded this space to local civic and political leaders and organizations whose messages for a better Fayetteville and Cumberland County resonate. The substance of the messages conveyed mirrors the same valued mission and mandates that have made Up & Coming Weekly a unique community newspaper. This week, I’m sharing information from one of the most important projects and opportunities ever to grace our community, the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center. This is the information you need to be in the know about this wonderful project. Enjoy.

A town hall meeting, “Toward a More Perfect Union: The N.C. Civil War History & Reconstruction Center,” sponsored by the history center and Fayetteville State University, will be held  Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. The event will be in the Rudolph Jones Student Center on FSU’s campus, 1200 Murchison Rd. It is free, and the public is invited to attend.

The town hall, which will be moderated by FSU Chancellor James Anderson, will provide a public forum where the audience will be invited to ask questions. The center’s architect, Victor Vines, and its exhibit designer, Jerry Eisterhold, will answer questions and discuss future plans. Other representatives from the center will also be present to answer questions.

Planners say the town hall meeting is intended to give an overview of the N.C. Civil War History & Reconstruction Center to those who will reside closest to it, within Cumberland County and surrounding areas.

Ground for the first phase of the center was broken April 18. The facility will reside at 801 Arsenal Ave. in Fayetteville, the present site of the Museum of the Cape Fear and the site of the Fayetteville Arsenal. The arsenal was originally built by the U.S. government. At the beginning of the Civil War, it was taken over by the Confederacy. The arsenal was used to produce weapons for the Confederate Army until it and The Fayetteville Observer newspaper building were destroyed by Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman during his Carolinas Campaign in March 1865.

The first phase of building involves rehabilitating three existing Civil War-era homes, including the John Davis House, which will be used as headquarters for the center’s Digital Outreach Education program. Progress is underway.

Also planned on the grounds is a 60,000-square-foot building with construction set to begin in 2020. The building will replace the existing Museum of the Cape Fear.

If built as envisioned, the center will cost $65 million. Of that amount, $27 million has been raised, with $7 million raised privately, $5 million from the state of North Carolina and $7.5 million each from the city of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

Once complete, the center will be owned and operated by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

This is a great opportunity for our community. We hope to see all our Up & Coming Weekly readers there to learn more about this future Fayetteville/Cumberland County venue and how it will positively impact our community.

Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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