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Fayetteville Revitalization May Displace Public Services

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FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville leaders hope a new special forces museum will bring more visitors downtown, but will such progress be at the expense of the city's poor and homeless? Some agencies say they are being displaced by progress.

Many agree that the multi-million dollar museum is just what downtown Fayetteville needs. Demolition in the 500 block of Hay Street is scheduled to begin in April. That leaves four service agencies on the same block very little time to pack up and move out.

Frances Robinson visits Better Health in downtown Fayetteville every Tuesday. She relies on the non-profit agency's free diabetes screening.

Beginning in April, Robinson's trip to Better Health may not be as convenient to her and the 500 other low income residents who rely on the foundation. Better Health is one of four service agencies being forced out of downtown offices. The building that houses them will be torn down to make way for the new Airborne and Special Operations Museum. Better Health Foundation employee Roberta Kishbaugh says the move looks like an overwhelming task.

Better Health knew this was coming, but expected to have more time to move. The executive director of a neighborhing homeless outreach is in the same boat. Gospel Team Outreach Executive Director, Michael Bost, says the organization has had no luck finding a new home.

Agency officials say staying downtown is crucial to all the agencies being forced out. In order to serve those who need help they they have to remain in the area where the most help is needed.

The city says it regrets the short notice, but that there is not a lot that can be done. Work has to start on the site by April 1, or the museum could lose thousands of dollars in grant money. City officials say they are working with the agencies to help relocate them.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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