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Residents, City Officials Want To Improve Fayetteville's Image

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FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville is constantly fighting the image of being a military town with strip joints and crime. Leaders hope learning more about the people who make a home there will help change minds.

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

"The Lord sent me a blessing to know I wasn't able to get my house painted and cared for," she says.

Operation Inasmuch did the work. The group started with members of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church. Six years later, it now includes several churches with people from all denominations and backgrounds.

"One of my hopes is Fayetteville will be known across the country as a place of origination for one of the most effective neighbors helping neighbors' problems," says Dr. David Crocker of Operation Inasmuch.

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

"I think part of our own community issue is the image of ourselves, so coming together and identifying 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 city won that year for improvements to the downtown area. The winner of this year's contest will be announced in June.

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