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Dirt Roads 'Embarrass' Fayetteville Mayor

Dozens of Fayetteville residents wonder why they still live along dirt roads more than two years after the city annexed their property.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Mayor Tony Chavonne said he is "embarrassed" that dozens of residents annexed more than two years ago were still waiting to have their roads paved.

Fayetteville annexed more than 43,000 Cumberland County residents in 40 neighborhoods on Sept. 30, 2005, after a bitter legal battle with some of them. The city gained $14 million in tax revenue in return for providing services, such as police and fire protection, water and sewer connections and road maintenance.

William Pridget said, however, that he still looks at the same sandy tire ruts he always has seen in Debbie Street, a dirt road.

"They should give us more than a garbage can and a tax paper," Pridget said.

Fayetteville has 5 miles of city-maintained dirt roads, and officials plans to pave more than 3 miles of those in the next three years. That project will cost $3.3 million.

Chavonne promised the newly paved miles will go past the homes of the recently annexed residents. The 2 miles that will remain as dirt roads are generally unused, the mayor said.

"I'm embarrassed to be a mayor in a city where we still have dirt roads and that we could find ourselves at this day in time not meeting those basic needs," Chavonne said.

Chavonne defeated incumbent Marshall Pitts Jr. in the 2005 mayoral election by gaining huge majorities of support from former Cumberland County residents who had been annexed by the city.

Resident Susan Dennis said she and her neighbors fought to get pavement laid on their dirt road – Barges Lane, two blocks from downtown. After a years-long campaign that went to the mayor's office, the city paved Barges Lane three months ago.

The unpaved road was "nothing but mud and water, and we got tired of it," Dennis said. "Each resident in their neighborhood needs to fight for their roads, just like we fought for Barges Lane."


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