All America Three-peat
I was not involved with Fayetteville’s All-America City designation in the ‘90s however; I was part of the Fayetteville delegation in Atlanta in 2001 when we won this prestigious recognition and award.
It was an awesome experience and I remember vividly the excitement, enthusiasm and overwhelming sense of pride, promise and accomplishment we all had.
Everyone was proud to hail from Fayetteville, N.C. It was a “wow!” experience. However, something very strange happened immediately following the win. Something no one expected, could explain or justify. In the short time it took us to travel home from Atlanta, the enthusiasm for what we had accomplished had all but dissipated. Vanished.
There were no bold headlines or breaking news stories about Fayetteville’s second All-America City designation. There were no parades or celebrations. There were no bumper stickers, signs or bridges or water towers painted with the distinguishable red, white and blue AAC logo. Matter of fact, one of my most cherished items is a gift from the city of a beautifully designed lapel pin commemorating the accomplishment.
Hmmmmm? What happened? Why the silence? What happened to the enthusiasm and excitement and why did Fayetteville fail to capitalize on this great opportunity? We may never know but, it was extremely bizarre and no secret that very little marketing was done to tout our AAC accomplishment and great, great city.
Fast forward to 2011 and here we are again poised for greatness as one of the nation’s 20 ﬁ nalist coming down the home stretch in a race for national recognition as an All-America City. Well, biased as I am, I feel we will win and I applaud those individuals who took the initiative to assemble the information and submit the application. I also like the fact that the price tag of this endeavor includes an $80,000 contingency to advertise, market and promote the honor. Yeah!
Unfortunately, there is a veil of negativity and grumblings and concerns about how this entire process has been handled coming from some city ofﬁ cials, residents and businesses. The roots of all being that it was done in secrecy and exclusion and unfortunately this always breeds contempt and mistrust.
It is our hope that now that this sentiment is known, those in charge of the event make a positive move to correct the perception or misconception. After all, Fayetteville belongs to “all” its citizens. And since they were the ones ultimately responsible for the accomplishments listed on the application they should be at the table involved and ready to support the effort. Excluding them would be like honoring a restaurant for its ﬁ ne cuisine and never mentioning the chef.
In conclusion, let’s go for it! Full steam ahead. But let’s do it together. We are the best city in the nation and we deserve this award. However, like 2001 in Atlanta, a victory in Kansas City will only stay in Kansas City unless we bring it home in our hearts.
Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.