Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Fayetteville Women’s View Magazine. F&B Publications is reprinting it here in order to widen the reach of this relevant and exciting information. For help compiling and/or writing portions of this overview, especially data-related information, special thanks to: Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation; Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Cool Spring Downtown District; and Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom.
Our community has so much to celebrate from 2018 and many things to look forward to in 2019. While not all-encompassing, here is an overview of reasons to celebrate the past year and reasons to get excited for the new one.
2018: Year in Review
An increasingly positive reputation
• In 2017, Governing magazine began an annual report, called “Equipt to Innovate,” in conjunction with the nonprofit Living Cities. The 2018 report named Fayetteville the most innovative city in the U.S. and the city with the best employee engagement. The study, which has a goal of helping cities improve their ability to innovate, judged cities based on seven factors: dynamically planned; broadly partnered; resident-involved; race-informed; smartly resourced; employee-engaged; and data-driven.
Learn more at www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-fayetteville-best-man- aged-city-equiptinnovate-lc.html.
• The Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau launched three new videos in its “Find Your Pursuit” series this year, bringing the total in the series to eight. All three new videos — “Pursuit of Brotherhood,” “Pursuit of Harmony” and “Pursuit of Discovery” — feature beautiful, high-quality clips of this area’s events, businesses and landscape. View them on YouTube; you can’t help but feel hometown pride while watching. Search “Visit Cumberland County NC” on YouTube.
• Cool Spring Downtown District initiated a new city of Fayetteville recognition – the Hometown Hero Award. The award is presented annually during Fayetteville’s Veterans Day celebration to honor a resident who contributed to development of the relationship between the city and the military. Gen. James J. Lindsay received the first Hometown Hero award Nov. 10.
New initiatives supporting local makers and growers
• Dirtbag Ales Farmers Market debuted in April 2018 with its inaugural Strawberry Festival, which featured 20 local vendors, and strawberries that sold out in the first two hours. DBA created the Hope Mills-based market in partnership with Sustainable Sandhills to help citizens engage with local producers of crafts and goods as well as local farmers. Every Sunday from April through November, 20 to 25 local vendors of everything from handblown glass to freerange meats to microgreens set up their wares on DBA’s idyllic outdoor grounds. The market reopens April 28, 2019.
Learn more at facebook.com/dirtbagfarmersmarket.
• Prima Elements Wellness Center and Sheridan’s Philosophy hosted Fayetteville’s First Annual Vegan Festival in June. Between 2,000-3,000 people came to browse more than 50 vendors and educators of all things vegan-related. Leading up to the festival, Prima Elements also started hosting monthly vegan potlucks from its location in downtown Fayetteville. Those potlucks will resume in February 2019.
Learn more at www.veganfestivalfaync.com.
Economic growth and new jobs
• Management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton announced expansion of its Fayetteville operations Aug. 28 that will create 208 new jobs. Business services provider eClerx, which has one U.S. delivery center — in Fayetteville — announced expansion of our local center Oct. 18 that will create 150 new jobs.
Progress for healthcare and research
• The Cumberland County Healthcare Next
Generation Partnership, an initiative led by the County Workforce Development Board, brings together more than 20 representatives from Cape Fear Valley Health, Womack Army Medical Center, private providers and other related businesses. Its June 14 session was the first of its kind in North Carolina. Next Gen Partnerships enable business leaders to champion their priorities and work with local, regional and state partners to achieve specified goals. The partners are forwarding actions to increase the coordination of care, strengthen the talent pipeline into the healthcare industry and prevent obesity.
Learn more at www.fayedc.com/2018/06/nc-nextgeneration- partnership.
• June 8, Womack Army Medical Center and the
Geneva Foundation launched the Fort Bragg Research Institute at Fayetteville State University. The institute aims to link the vast research infrastructure of our community with the growing requirements of operational readiness at Fort Bragg. Working with the Cape Fear Research Consortium, the FBRI’s mission is to optimize military performance and improve health disparities of southeastern North Carolina through scientific innovation.
Learn more at www.uncfsu.edu/fort-bragg-research.
2019: Year in Preview
Fayetteville’s new baseball team debuts
• Construction on downtown Fayetteville’s new $37.8 million ballpark dominated conversation last year. The stadium heralds this area’s first minor league baseball presence in 17 years, and this spring, the wait will finally come to an end. The Fayetteville Woodpeckers, a minor league affiliate of the World Series Champion Houston Astros, will play their first home game April 18, 2019, against the Carolina Mudcats. The Astros signed a 30-year lease, indicating their investment in the long-term success of the city. The stadium will also host the NCAA Big South Conference baseball tournament May 21-25. Learn more at www.milb.com/fayetteville.
The debut of the stadium and team will be complemented by Prince Charles Holdings’ $110 million plan, which includes the renovation of the Prince Charles Hotel, along with other downtown revitalization projects.
Development and new business
• Improvements to Concourse A, the first phase of Fayetteville Regional Airport’s $35 million renovation project, are expected to be completed in July. The first major renovation since the terminal was built, the updated concourse will be triple the size of its predecessor, seat 128 passengers and include a new restaurant serving salads, sandwiches and local craft beer. The second phase is expected to start in November, which will improve the facade of the building and include new escalators, elevators and stairwells.
• Launched a year ago and gaining steam, The CORE is an innovation corridor in downtown Fayetteville with a mission to connect the talent and resources of our community while providing a central location for tech companies, DoD Contractors and entrepreneurs to develop and deploy next-gen technologies. This hub plans to provide a coworking space for innovators in cybersecurity, digital healthcare, energy, Internet of Things, augmented reality and other related technologies.
• Campbell Soup Supply Company, in partnership with DHL Supply Chain, will open a new, state-of-the-art distribution center in Cedar Creek Business Center by this summer. The project will result in a $40 million investment and the creation of 195 jobs.
• Though it technically started in 2018, Cool Spring Downtown District’s busker program will grow in strength this year, adding a delightful element of live music to downtown Fayetteville every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, along with Saturday and Sunday afternoons. CSDD has more exciting plans for the year: Jan. 25-27, there will be outdoor ice skating downtown; Feb. 22- 23, a gaming tournament; an every-Wednesday lunch in Cross Creek Park starting in March; and summer concerts every Thursday night this summer.
Learn more at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com.
Welcoming new troops at Fort Bragg
• Fort Bragg’s leadership announced they anticipate adding 2,500 to 3,000 troops in the coming years, increasing the installation’s total population to around 57,000.