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Crown Coliseum Loses Fight For Owen Drive Extension

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FAYETTEVILLE — Visitors were supposed to see the grand entrance while driving into the grounds of theCumberland County Crown Coliseum, but there will not be one for a long time. For the fourth and final time, theArmy Corps of Engineersrejected the proposal for an Owen Drive extension.

"It certainly creates a nightmare for us as far as bringing in major acts and working the traffic on roads that were built really in the sixties," says Kendall Wall, Coliseum general manager.

The Corps says the proposed route would destroy too many acres of wetlands inFayetteville.

"We're extremely disappointed," says Billy Davidson, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. "We were looking forward to that, and I can assure you that the 300,000 citizens of Fayetteville and Cumberland County and the Chamber have no intentions to leave this alone."

The new road would have passed by Crown Coliseum and hooked up with Interstate 95, giving Fort Bragg a quick route to ports in Wilmington.

The most talked-about approved alternative would be to widen Wilkes Road, but that would require spending $7 million to build a new interchange in Fayetteville. And the gateway to the city would go right by a dump.

"We need a southern gateway into Fayetteville and into Fort Bragg and into the Crown Coliseum, and we've just got to find a way," says George Breece, Coliseum Complex chairman. "We can't give up on this."

City and county leaders still have a number of options, including that theDepartment of Transportationcould resubmit the permit.

The Army Corps of Engineers say it could take up to three to six months to study possible alternatives.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
David Renner, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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