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Fayetteville Leaders Provide Loan to Keep Military Museum Downtown

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FAYETTEVILLE — Build it and they will come. That's what Fayetteville city leaders have been saying about the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.

Additional costs put the project in jeopardy, but Monday, the Fayetteville City Council came to the rescue.

They are working fast and furious to finish the site preparation for the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.

But inflation and extras mean the project will cost $4.5 million more than originally expected.

"We added a 24-seat simulator that will have a parachute jump and a few other things in it. The army came up with a Waco glider that flew in World War II. It's worth over a half-million dollars. We don't have to pay for it, but we do have to pay for expanding the museum to accommodate it," said Gen. James Lindsay of the Museum Foundation.

Construction is scheduled to begin next month on the building that is expected to be the economic cornerstone of downtown Fayetteville for years to come.

City leaders say they must provide the $4.5 million loan to keep the museum in downtown Fayetteville.

"I see it as a private-public partnership venture that we keep screaming about that we want more of. And here the opportunity is laid before us to do it. So I think it's an important project for downtown and the community. I see everybody reaping the benefits of this," said City Councilman Mark Kendrick.

"In terms of economic benefit alone, it's a great deal for the city. When you look at it's costing $16 million, but we, the foundation, are bringing almost $12 million to it, the city is getting a pretty good deal," said Lindsay.

The museum is expected to be completed in the year 2000.

Officials believe the museum will bring 275,000 visitors to downtown Fayetteville annually and inject $60 million into the local economy.


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