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Official: Gateway Will Make 'Beautiful Difference' for Fayetteville

Posted February 4, 2008

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— A proposal before Fayetteville city leaders would create a new gateway into downtown, build a state veterans' park and tie together three major roadways.

The Gateway Corridor project would cost millions and not begin for years. City planners, though, have their eyes set on transforming the area surrounding the Airborne & Special Operations Museum into a gorgeous gateway into the city.

"It's going to be a beautiful difference. Amazing," said City Councilman Robert Hurst.

A public presentation of the plans will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, 100 Bragg Blvd.

Plans require replacing the Rowan Street bridge with a new one a little farther north. The renamed Veterans Memorial Bridge will go down to a roundabout, connecting Rowan Street to Murchison Road and Bragg Boulevard.

The roundabout will improve traffic flow, eliminate a cluster of intersections and allow the development of unused space, city officials said. Townhouses and a high-rise apartment complex would go up in part of Rowan Park.

"The opportunity to connect Haymont to downtown, (along) with more housing, would bring more people downtown and, hopefully, create more opportunities for businesses, shops and restaurants," said Kyle Sonnenberg, Fayetteville's assistant city manager.

The improvements would also mean changes for nearby businesses. Vick's Drive-In, an icon for 50 years at Rowan and Murchison, will likely have to move.

Tommy Skenteris, owner of Vick's Drive-In, said he understand the need to revitalize downtown, particularly Murchison Road. He said he is OK with making the move, as long as the city is willing to help fund it.

"It will be sad, but customers will still come," Skenteris said. "It will be the same service and quality of food, people serving it. That will never change."

Planners hope the state veterans' park, to the southeast of the roundabout, will rival that of parks in Washington, D.C. The park could be a regional attraction, because it would honor veterans from across North Carolina, not only those from Fayetteville, Hurst said.

"The veteran's park is not just a park of monuments. It's going to be a reflecting pool, gardens and a beautiful area people can ride their bikes," Hurst said.

City planners hope for a combination of state and federal money to fund the majority of the Gateway Corridor project.

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  • TheAdmiral Feb 5, 2008

    It is absolutely incredible that the municipalities think that revitalizing downtown is going to be a billion dollar boom.

    Survey Says: X

    If we look at every single revitalizing plan that has been executed, we don't see people going downtown for shopping, or anything else unless they work there. Not since most of your malls are being built to look like downtown.

    Survey Says: XX

    Out of all of the millions (billions) that have been spent by overindulgent Business Owners Associations to make the brick look pretty and the awnings look all one color, they have not had the appeal to bring in the big hitting retailers. So we have a host of overpriced Mom & Pops struggling in those areas.

    Survey Says: XXX

    Not to mention Mom & Pops, the larger retailers are starting to branch out and leave the downtown areas like moths to fire. Why? There are no people there! So wasting money downtown where there are no stores and parking is lunacy!

  • likemenow Feb 5, 2008

    No kidding Crisp...maybe Durham should take a clue..imagine what it would do for the Bull-City...an imagage make-over usually does cure all the ills that cities like these face..or not

  • Steve Crisp Feb 5, 2008

    it is truly stunning just how much money a few people can waste when it is not theirs.

  • aquamama Feb 4, 2008

    Most importantly- what will happen to the whale?