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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the bond referendum was passed by both Cumberland County and city of Fayetteville citizens. The article has been corrected to state that the bond referendum was passed only by citizens of the city.

The Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation department provides services and amenities for the residents of Cumberland County and the city of Fayetteville. This organization offers extensive programs such as youth sports, affordable golf services at Kings Grant Golf Course, instructional camps, summer camps for children, and recreation services for seniors.

These programs improve the quality of life for Cumberland County residents and increase general community pride in countless ways. Now, more than ever, the FCPR recognizes the need to develop recreation and park services to meet the needs of the growing community it serves.

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan was created in 2006 to address the needs of an evolving and growing population into the future.

But there is a cost to operate and expand current facilities. That’s where the $35 million FCPR Bond Referendum comes into play. The bond referendum was passed by the citizens of the city in 2016 and paves the way to grow the vision of the FCPR.

Project updates

The projects in the referendum include two senior centers, a tennis center, a sports field complex, skateboard parks, the Cape Fear River Park Downtown Riverfront and seven splash pads. Also included are park improvements to the following parks: Brentwood School Park, Clark Park, Dorothy Gilmore Therapeutic Recreation Center & Park, Massey Hill Recreation Center Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Mazarick Park and Seabrook Park.

Since the passing of the bond referendum in 2016, three new splash pads have been constructed. They are located at the Kiwanis, Massey Hill and Myers Recreation Centers. In addition, each of the splash pads are handicap accessible, offering opportunities for those with disabilities to participate in a fun outdoor activity. The pads are equipped with a recirculation system that recycles the water and ensures it is clean for use.

The Dorothy Gilmore project groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier this year, and work is now underway for the splash pad at that center. As with the other splash pads, the pad is handicap accessible.

Kathy Jensen, city councilwoman for District 1, said the city has seen an increase in positive feedback from the community since the construction of the splash pads and pool upgrades.

“People are embracing Fayetteville as a place to live and recreate,” Jensen said.

The FCPR expects to have a groundbreaking ceremony soon for a new skateboard park that will be located at Rowan Park. The skateboard park is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Several partnerships with local universities and Fort Bragg are on the horizon, too. These partnerships will mutually benefit both the FCPR and its partners. For instance, a partnership with Methodist University to lease the Jordan Soccer Complex will result in extensive renovations to the complex. This will provide upscale facilities for teams to use for tournaments, and the state-of-the-art soccer complex will benefit all in the local community.

Another partnership, this one with Fayetteville State University, will involve the construction of the Senior Center East. Upon completion, local seniors will have use of the Senior Center and the Life Center on the FSU campus.

Negotiations are also underway with Fort Bragg for the construction of a sports complex. Details of the arrangement will be released upon successful negotiation of the agreement between the two entities.

The 19,000-square-foot Senior Center West broke ground and is currently working to install the infrastructure to support the center. Construction on the center is expected to be completed by early 2020.

Finally, a child-friendly water feature will be constructed at the entrance to Hurley Field, the site of the new Fayetteville Woodpeckers ballpark. The ballpark is the cornerstone of a large-scale redevelopment project in the Fayetteville downtown.

Check out the FCPR centers and view all of the great upgrades in person. For more information on the development plan and updates, visit https://fcpr.us/parksbond.

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