FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Something's missing in downtown Fayetteville -- soldiers from nearby Fort Bragg. The disappearing act started 10 years ago, when Fayetteville put an end to its seedy reputation by getting rid of strip clubs and bars.
The effort was a success, to an extent. Soldiers took their business elsewhere and haven't come back.
"What's here?" said Sgt. Jeff Gritz. "You know, what's to do?"
Now, the Army is spending some money to fix that. They hired a team to visit Fayetteville, drop in on businesses, and come up with suggestions. The cost of this is around $60,000.
"The Army is very concerned that its soldiers, the whole Army family -- be it the civilians who work on the post, the active duty, retirees -- have a place, have a hometown," said fact finder Teresa Lynch.
Bruce Arnold, who owns the Rude Awakening Coffee Shop, said it can be hard to compete with the mall area.
"We're still fighting a little bit of a stigma or a bad reputation of what downtown Fayetteville was 20, 30, 40 years ago," said Arnold.
While Arnold thinks the downtown area just needs to find its own niche, the Army's team is still looking for more answers on how to bring soldiers back.