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Residents, City Officials Want To Improve Fayetteville's Image

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Fayetteville is constantly fighting theimage of being a military town with strip jointsand crime. Leaders hope learning more about the people whomake a home there will help change minds.

Estell Wright has lived on BainDrive in Fayetteville for half a century.The 81-year-old knew her house needed work.One day last month, dozens of people showedup to paint her house and fix her lights. They evenbrought her flowers.

"The Lord sent me a blessing after knowing I wasn't able to get my house paintedand cared for," she says.

Operation Inasmuch did the work. The group began with members of SnyderMemorial Baptist Church. Six years later, it now includes several churcheswith people from all denominations andbackgrounds.

"One of my hopes is Fayetteville will beknown across the country as a place of originationfor one of the most effective neighborshelping neighbors' problems," says Dr. David Crocker of OperationInasmuch.

Operation Inasmuch is one of three projects Fayetteville isusing to show the heart of the people who live in the area.They hope it will convince theNational Civic Leaguetodesignate Fayetteville as the 2001 All-America City.

"I think part of our own community issue is theimage of ourselves, so coming together andidentifying projects is good for us," says city manager Roger Stancil.

Nearly 100 cities entered the national competition. This year is the first time Fayetteville has applied since 1985. The citywon that year for improvements to the downtown area. The winner of thisyear's contest will be announced in June.

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