02The Fayetteville Woodpeckers Naming rights? You bet! And Fayetteville’s Class A Advanced baseball team President Mark Zarthar and company named it right. The Fayetteville Woodpeckers is a name that can fly with the eagles with its powerful, attractive logo that automatically evokes a sense of pride, strength and determination.

That pretty much defines the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. On Sunday, Nov. 4, more than 1,000 people and potential Woodpeckers fans showed up at Festival Park to find out what the team name would be. I doubt there was anyone, other than the die-hard skeptics, who thought the name Fatbacks was even in the running. Again, kudos to the Houston Astros organization. The name is great, the logos are awesome, the uniforms are classy, and the launch event was a huge success.

The celebration was executed with class and style, encompassing and reflecting many aspects of our community. It included beer, a great band and baseball. What’s not to like?

So far, it looks like our $37.8 million stadium has great economic development potential for downtown Fayetteville. However, a future challenge may lie in managing all this newfound economic potential and good fortune. Harnessing potential to successfully create a vibrant, exciting downtown community is a decades-old objective that seems to remain stubbornly elusive.

One business owner described the situation in downtown Fayetteville as having “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” Another referred to having an overabundance of self-serving, noncommunicating organizations content on building silos rather than a consensus. In other words, downtown Fayetteville seems to conflict with itself to its own detriment. This needs to change.

Downtown Fayetteville desperately needs a common bond or thread if it is to realize the full potential of our new stadium and Fayetteville Woodpeckers baseball team. This is not hyperbole. This is serious business.

Example: My $5 glass of wine at Huske Hardware House Restaurant and Brewery Sunday evening transformed into a $130 dinner tab when I was joined by friends attending the Astros’ Woodpeckers event in Festival Park. This long-anticipated party brought people and business into Fayetteville. With this being the case, you would have thought the downtown businesses, merchants, restaurants and organizations, including the Greater Fayetteville Chamber, would have readied themselves to take advantage of and participate in this once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Hay Street should have been lit up like a Christmas tree, celebrating the Woodpeckers with shops andrestaurants opened and ready to do business.

It didn’t happen. Hay Street was dark, and if you listened closely, you could hear the food trucks leaving Festival Park with our money, goodwill and hope for developing a healthy and vibrant downtown.

Like I said, we are conflicted in our overall objectives because we fail to communicate. This is a simple problem that can be easily eliminated if anyone would step up in a leadership role to bring everyone together.

We are hopeful this happens soon. 

Again, a hearty welcome to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers!

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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