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Fayetteville's Crown Jewel Shines Without A Grand Entrance

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FAYETTEVILLE — For the third time, theArmy Corps of Engineershas stopped plans to build an extension road that would connect theCumberland County Crown Coliseumto Interstate 95 andFort Bragg.

The coliseum is Fayetteville's crown jewel, but two years after it was built, it still has no grand entrance. Light poles stand where the entrance was supposed to be.

City and county leaders have spent one million dollars on the plan to extend Owen Drive, but the corps has once again vetoed the plan. The corps objects to the plan because the road would run right through six acres of wetlands.

Right now, the alternative plan is to widen existing Wilkes Road to five lanes. But Stacey Dump and her neighbors do not want their yards and homes paved over with blacktop.

"A five-lane highway in a residential [neighborhood] ... you cannot do that. You can't," Dump says.

Coliseum officials are not happy with the alternative either. General Manager Kendall Wall says widening Wilkes Road would simply prolong the delay, possibly six years, until an entrance is built.

Walls says the delay has already had a major impact on traffic around the coliseum and on the events the coliseum is able to attract.

City and county leaders could take their case to the Army Corps of Engineers Appeals Board in Atlanta.

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Todd Hauer, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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