07priority issues  Fayetteville City Council members will meet next month for their annual planning retreat. Last week, they held a preliminary session designed to zero in on issues they believe most important to the people in the year ahead. For the first time in many years, crime control is not on the list.

The priorities include initiating a development plan for the Murchison Road corridor. Members have been talking about economic improvement along the roadway for years. Mayor Mitch Colvin owns Colvin Funeral Home & Crematory at 2010 Murchison Rd. Murchison Road stretches for 10 miles from downtown Fayetteville to Spring Lake.

City Council plans to take on the revitalization in segments, the first being from the new Rowan Street railroad overpass to Langdon Street, just beyond Fayetteville State University. Local business development, improved street lighting, additional bus stops and mobility are potential areas of improvement. It “could be 15, 20 years before this whole corridor is done,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ted Mohn.

Another area of interest to council would be the city’s investment in a modern, high-speed broadband system. Councilman Jim Arp spoke of making Fayetteville a Top 50 smart technology city, saying “information is the commerce of the next century.”

The city administration calls these special interest projects targets for action. Other projects include completion of the comprehensive land use plan, development and maintenance of city street and stormwater systems, and development of options for a young adult engagement program and an internship program.

The objective of the session was to get the council thinking in greater detail about the goals it will concentrate on during the annual planning retreat. In addition to public safety concerns, they scratched development of parks and recreation programs from their list. P&R Committee Chair Kathy Jensen noted that passage of the $35 million bond referendum three years ago had stabilized funding needs.

The list of targets for action did not include crime control in Fayetteville. Statistics continue to reflect an overall upward trend in crime over 17 years with both violent and property crimes increasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Fayetteville for 2019 is expected to be higher than in 2016 according to CityRating.com. The city had a record number of homicides in 2016 — 33.

In 2016, the violent crime rate in Fayetteville was higher than the violent crime rate in North Carolina by 103.42 percent, and the city’s property crime rate was higher than the property crime rate in North Carolina by 66.23 percent.

The source of data on Fayetteville crime rates is the FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement. The projected crime rate data was generated from the trends and crime information available from previous years of reported data. The FBI cautions that statistics comparing yearly data solely on the basis of population is meaningful only upon further examination of all variables that affect crime.

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