Local News

Fayetteville’s first Juneteenth Jubilee was ‘absolutely’ successful, organizers say

juneteenth The inaugural Juneteenth Jubilee was a big success over the weekend for the city and its co-sponsor, the Cool Spring Downtown District, according to organizers of the celebration.
The jubilee was a first for Fayetteville tie-in to the federal holiday that commemorates the abolishment of slavery in the United States. It also was observed as a city holiday for the first time on Monday.
Bianca Shoneman, president and CEO of Cool Spring Downtown District, called the festival “absolutely” successful. She said feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“We had two full days (with) … three different events,” she said.

“Many of the vendors that attended the Saturday event (reported) strong sales,” Shoneman said. “(They were) pleased with management and communication from the managing partner and in general had a good experience. Enjoyed the diversity of the music. Enjoyed the day as a whole, the spirit of it overall.”

An estimated 7,000 to 8,000 people attended Saturday’s part of the two-day jubilee at Festival Park. The entertainment included saxophonist Reggie Codrington of Fayetteville; the musically diverse Diwali Cissokho and Kaira Ba; the funk-based Fatback Band of Fayetteville; Americana singer-songwriter Amethyst Kiah; and hip-hop artist Morray, another native son who is perhaps best known for the song Quicksand from 2020.
Cumulus Media of Fayetteville oversaw Sunday’s Praise Party in the Park, which concluded with a performance by acclaimed gospel singer and minister Donnie McClurkin.

Early Monday afternoon, Shoneman said she had not yet spoken with a representative of the radio group.
Phone messages left Monday with Cumulus were not returned, but Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and City Councilman D.J. Haire both said they were told that a crowd of about 15,000 filled Festival Park for the Sunday proceedings.

“It was full,” Colvin said. “That’s what I was told.”

Last week, Shoneman had said she hoped Juneteenth Jubilee would draw about 10,000 people.

“I didn’t attend all of the events,” Colvin said Monday. “What I did attend, I was very impressed. It looked like people were enjoying themselves, and I think that was the intent of the council. I really went to Praise in the Park. It was very good.”

The mayor said he has no complaints.

“It really showed that the city of Fayetteville is diverse, and it also showed that entertainment is desired,” Colvin said. “I’m not aware of any major incidents down there. I think that was groundbreaking to show that we can have a lot of people in a space without any issues from different types of music.

“They had a really diverse selection of entertainment, from gospel to hip-hop to other,” he said. “And it was really enjoyed. They’re only scratching the surface. At the end of the day, it’s about bringing people downtown to spend money and have a good time.”

Like Colvin and Haire, Shoneman reported “zero” problems, including no arrests.

Haire, who attended the first day of the jubilee with his wife, said he thought the earlier part of Saturday's activities was “beautiful.”

“I think that Sunday was probably the best,” he said. “Sunday had a theme of history, so it kind of took you from one part of culture to another. For our first go-around, I think we did pretty good."

Haire said he received phone calls on Monday morning from people saying they thought the celebration was great.

“People from Moore County, just various folk from all over the city. We really enjoyed it,” said Haire. “Many people thought it was like integrating Juneteenth and Father’s Day. I think it was nice. Nothing but a plus.”
Shoneman said organizers encountered some production challenges throughout the day Saturday. Kiah, the Americana artist, appeared upset on stage as her band warmed up for its set. She was having problems with

sound and her amplified acoustic guitar. At one point, she could be heard saying to someone onstage, “Let’s just get it done.”

“It was the intent of the festival to hire locally owned, Black-owned businesses across the board,” Shoneman said. “Not only on stage was it Black-led talent, but there certainly was diversity onstage. We engaged a Black-owned production business, and we were very proud of that. If there was folly, it was to support the spirit of Juneteenth.”

The local celebration was put together in a matter of months by the downtown district staff members after the City Council requested that they come up with ideas for a Juneteenth celebration.
In early March, the council approved $141,000 for the roughly $160,000 festival.

On Jan. 10, the City Council voted to make Juneteenth a city holiday.

“One of the things I’ve been working on and I’m continuing to work on are quality-of-life things,” said Colvin. “What determines to make the community fun and enjoyable is always connected to entertainment. … This weekend was successful. I think we’ll continue to do that. That’s what makes communities. I talk to a lot of people – a lot of younger people – and they say they spend time in Raleigh and other places because they have things to do. We have a beautiful city.”

Hope Mills board sets hearing date for proposed moratorium

hope mills logo HOPE MILLS — The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners on Monday night voted to hold a public hearing in July on a temporary moratorium on some types of businesses while the town staff researches a proposed zoning overlay district.

Chancer F. McLaughlin, the town’s Planning and Economic Development director, appeared before the board to ask for the moratorium.

Overlay zoning is a regulatory tool that creates a special zoning district over existing zoning. It can include additional or different regulations that apply within the district.

McLaughlin said he wants to do more research into overlay districts, which are a way to help guide development. For the past 10 years, there have been some business uses the town has no interest in, McLaughlin said.

“A moratorium is a temporary halt by a government on business permits,” McLaughlin said, reading from a prepared statement.

”Why do we need one?” he asked. “Over the last year, staff have noticed a particular trend in businesses that can create an issue in saturation from economic development.”

“Without these types of checks and balances, citizens and towns are left open to transitions that are detrimental to the town’s growth,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin told the board he had received several calls from concerned businesses. Some board members said they also had been contacted.

Some new businesses expressed concerns that a moratorium would halt their planning. McLaughlin said a moratorium or an overlay district would not affect businesses that already have been approved. McLaughlin said a moratorium would only affect new establishments.

McLaughlin said he has started the research and discovered the town needs to have a public hearing in order to implement a moratorium.

The board decided to move its workshop scheduled for July 18 to Aug. 1 and voted to hold a public hearing on a proposed moratorium on July 18.
In a memo to the board that was included in the agenda packet, McLaughlin said the staff wants a six-month moratorium while they work to develop an overlay district.

The uses that staff would like included in the proposed moratorium include:
● Motor vehicle parts and accessory sales.
● Motor vehicle repair and/or body work.
● Motor vehicle rentals.
● Motor vehicle sales, new and used.
● Retail establishments that are primarily tied to smoke shops and vape establishments.

In other business, the board heard an update on the new public safety building from its architect, Scott Garner. Garner said the building has 40% of the interior painting done, 80% of the tile done and 90% of the plumbing done.

“We just need to set the fixtures,” he said.

Garner said the project is on track, and the building is expected to be occupied by October.

Garner also asked the board to approve the eighth change order for the building. The money would come from the contingency fund.

The biggest item on the list was $66,102 for the building's BDA system, Garner said. The BDA, or Bi-Directional Amplifier, enhances frequencies and gives a signal boost within the building allowing the police and fire personnel to use their required radios, phones and WiFi in the building, Garner told the board.

Commissioner Jerry Legge, who has builder experience, asked Garner why the project wasn’t turn-key.

Garner said there was no way to accommodate or plan for that type of expense using blueprints until the building got to that stage. Garner said this was needed and expected.

Also included in the change order was $9,775 for the removal of a modular trailer.

The trailer initially was going to be used later by the town, but town staff decided it was of no use and needed to be removed, Town Manager Scott Meszaros said. Several people told the staff they would haul it off but those plans fell through, he said.

The trailer has since been hauled away. Meszaros said the funding in the change order was a formality.

Commissioner Joanne Scarola said she would have liked more time to find a use for the trailer.

“We’re not going to use it, and now we have to pay to have it hauled off,” Scarola said.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the change order. Commissioners Bryan Marley, Kenjuana McCray, Grilley Mitchell and Scarola voted in favor of the change order. Legge voted in opposition.

When asked why he voted against the change order Legge said, “I’m tired of change orders. A contingency fund is good to have in case of an emergency. But when we do this over and over, someone didn’t do their homework.”

Man killed in Sunday morning shooting in Fayetteville

pexels Crime tape The Fayetteville Police Department is investigating a shooting Sunday morning on Danish Drive that left one man dead.

Police were dispatched at 11:38 a.m. to a reported shooting on the 800 block of Danish Drive.

Officers found a man who had been shot and performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police on Sunday night identified the man as 32-year-old Marshall Parks of the 800 block of Danish Drive.

“The preliminary investigation revealed the shooting was the result of some type of disturbance between a male and female on scene that are known to each other,’’ police said in the release. “The shooting was not a random act of violence.’’

Police said a suspect is in custody, but no other information has been released.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective J. Nevitt at 910-703-3499 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).

Cumberland County commissioners approve $510,000 in business incentives Package intended to lure national home construction company to Fayetteville

Cumberlan Co logo The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to approve a $510,000 incentives package for a national home construction company that says it plans to build a manufacturing plant in Fayetteville.

The move follows the Fayetteville City Council’s approval last week of a $317,000 incentives package for the same company.
Robert Van Geons, CEO and president of the Fayetteville-Cumberland Economic Development Corp., said the industry recruitment effort is code-named “Project Dogwood.” He said the proposed site for the 130,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is on Dunn Road, on vacant property across from the former MJ Soffe garment and apparel factory.

Van Geons said developing that site may cause a ripple effect and open the area to other industrial investments.
The county’s incentives will be paid over five years.

“To receive the incentives, they must produce jobs,” Van Geons said. “We don’t front anything in these agreements.”

The company would pay taxes and adhere to agreements that include creating 189 jobs by 2027, he said. The average annual wage would be $45,079, and the annual payroll would exceed $8.5 million. The unnamed manufacturer also would be required to invest $25 million in real-estate improvements.

Van Geons estimated the company will pay $210,000 in county taxes annually and $134,000 in city taxes.
No one spoke for or against the project during a public hearing held just before the board took action.
Commissioner Charles Evans made the motion to approve the incentives, and it was seconded by board Vice Chairwoman Toni Stewart. The vote was unanimous with Evans, Stewart, Jeannette Council and Chairman

Glenn Adams voting in favor of the project. Commissioners Larry Lancaster, Michael Boose and Jimmy Keefe were not present.

In other action:

The commissioners voted to incorporate the town of Spring Lake into the county’s recreation district. The town, which has its own recreation department, asked to be included.
Only one person spoke during a public hearing before the vote. Former Spring Lake Alderwoman Fredricka Sutherland asked the board to ensure Spring Lake would “have a seat at the table and a voice” on recreation issues. She expressed concern that low-income youths would not have easy access to recreation programs because fees have not been discussed.

Adams assured Sutherland that “at the end of the day,” Spring Lake residents would have more recreation programs and services without added taxes.

Also, the commissioners voted to use a portion of the county’s American Rescue Plan funds to pay incentives to help retain county employees.
The fiscal 2023 budget includes a 4% pay raise for county employees, but an 8.5% inflation rate has made it difficult to retain employees, according to Brian Haney, assistant county manager and interim human resources director.

Haney told the commissioners that private-sector employers and other government agencies with higher wage plans are constantly recruiting employees away from the county.

The county management staff recommended giving each employee $4,000 in incentives in fiscal 2023, which starts on July 1. Qualified employees would get $1,500 in the July 22 payroll, another $1,000 in December, and a final $1,500 in July 2023. Part-time employees would get a pro-rated share, Haney said.

Haney estimates the maximum cost would total roughly $8.176 million and includes retirement.
The county manager, county attorney and board clerk are not eligible for the incentive payments.

Stewart made a motion to approve the use of ARP funds for the first incentive in the July 22 payroll. The vote was unanimous.

Chamber to hold June 30 forum for city candidates

11 City elections are coming up, and the Greater Fayetteville Chamber wants to make sure people are informed before voting.

Tonette Johnson, the events coordinator for the Chamber, says the forum was the idea of the Chamber's Government Relations Committee Chair Eva Houston-Henderson, Chamber member George Breece and the Chamber Board's Chairwoman Tammy Thurman. Johnson said the three partnered together to build this forum and help get the information out to the community about the candidates.

"It was just a seamless decision because we're so already heavily involved in what's going on in the community," Johnson said.

The Chamber has invited all the candidates for Mayor and the nine city council seats to the forum.

The Mayoral Candidates are Mitch Colvin and Freddie de la Cruz. The city council candidates up for election include Kathy Jensen, Alex Rodriquez, Shakeyla Ingram, Tyrone Williams, Antonio Jones, Mario Benavente, D.J. Haire, Thomas Greene, Derrick Thompson, Peter Pappas, Larry Wright, Brenda McNair, Yvonne Kinston, Deno Hondros, Johnny Dawkins, Frederick LaChance III, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Michael Pinkston.

Candidates will not take questions from the audience at the event. Instead, questions have been submitted ahead of time by Chamber members, business owners and community members and will be vetted before being asked.

"We're not playing any games. We want to get to know the candidates. We want to know their agenda, what their plans are for the community," Johnson said. "We wanted to make sure that the topics that needed to be touched on, that needed to be heard, and it is a wide range of topics. However, we just kept it to our community's growth and development."

Johnson said most of the questions would be directed at all the candidates, but some will be explicitly directed toward the mayoral candidates.

Gary Rogers from Beasley Media Group will be the Master of Ceremonies during the forum. Rogers is a board officer with the Chamber and is an Ambassador for the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. He will direct questions to the candidates and keep people on topic.

The forum will not be live streamed. However, it will be recorded and broadcast at a later date.

Other media outlets will be present, including Up & Coming Weekly, CityView Today and The Fayetteville Observer.

The forum will take place at the Crown Coliseum Thursday, June 30.
Attendees are asked to enter the Crown Coliseum through the West VIP Entrance to get to the event venue.

The free event will also have a continental breakfast.

Reservations are not required to attend. Instead, it will be first-come, first-serve for seating and food. The event starts at 8 a.m. and is expected to end around 11 a.m.

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