Local News

Fayetteville May Uproot Trees to Create More Parking Downtown

Posted May 10, 2000

— Fayetteville is thinking about cutting down half of its downtown-area oaks, but some business owners say the city is barking up the wrong tree.

They say the 60 oak trees that line Hay Street are what gives the Center City its historic feel.

Sally Pomer loves the oak tree and its shade in front of her shop. She hates to think she might lose the 15-year-old tree to parking spaces.

"Parking is a necessity, true, but let's work together for parking and trees. I'd hate to see even a single tree going," she says.

The city manager says downtown Fayetteville must turn over a new leaf now that Hay Street is no longer a pedestrian mall.

With more businesses moving in, Roger Stancil is considering a plan to remove half of the oak trees and replace them with 50 diagonal parking spaces.

"The needs of the area have changed, and it's a matter of going through an inclusive public process to see what trade-offs do you want to make to get more parking," Stancil says.

Antique shop owner Reece Shore sides with Stancil -- if at least half the trees really continue to stand tall. Shore says the parking that has already been added on the outskirts of the city are not enough.

"Businesses have to survive, and if the customers can't find a place to park, there's no need for businesses to be here," Shore says.

But many others believe cutting down trees will remove downtown's warmth and charm. Downtown worker Claudia Allen says if the trees go, so does the root of downtown.

"It distracts from the beauty of downtown and that seems to be what they are trying to promote to get people down here," she says.

The city manager says another issue to consider is safety as the trees block a lot of the lighting.

The city manager says he will work with downtown merchants on a final plan. Any plan will also have to be approved by theCity Counciland the Historic Resources Commission.

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