Fayetteville, N.C. — Fayetteville's recent renaissance was recognized on a national scale Friday night when the city was named an All-America City.
“We’re thrilled to win this award,” Mayor Tony Chavonne said. “Everyone delivered and the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus conveyed the heart and soul of our community. I am so proud of our delegation and excited that our city is an All-America City for the third time. So much hard work went into winning and it really paid off.”
The National Civic League handed out the annual award to 10 cities in a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo. Fayetteville was among 26 finalists, including Fort Worth, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., to South Bend, Ind., and Eden, N.C.
Fayetteville also won the honor in 1985 and 2001, and officials said winning again would reflect city's recent effort to change its image.
The city's presentation included a reference to the "Fayette-nam" nickname that used to rankle city leaders. Officials contrasted that with a "Fayette-now" slogan in their bid for the All-American City Award.
A video city officials produced compared the hurly-burly days of Hay Street downtown, when it was filled with strip clubs and seedy bars, with the redevelopment that has occurred there in recent years, attracting museums and condominiums.
"The growth of our economy has been phenomenal. Our average pay and benefits shot up 60 percent in the last 10 years," said Doug Peters, president of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce.
The Daily Beast recently named Fayetteville the No. 1 city in the country for college graduates because of its low unemployment rate and low cost of living.
Local officials said being named an All-American city would help lure employers, secure development grants and market the city nationally.