Up & Coming Weekly

June 18, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 15 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JUNE 19-25, 2019 UCW 15 lack the capacity to forthrightly address and work through tension-producing issues. Given that much of the racial divide and tension that we face today goes back to the Civil War and Reconstruc- tion period, we fool ourselves if we think we can rectify our current disaster without coming face- to-face with the genesis of this disaster. is lack of capacity for forthrightly addressing difficult issues is further reflected in the call by some to come up with a "generic" name for the History Center. at is, do not include the words "Civil War." My position is to let us accurately identify what it is we are addressing. In so doing, we might just start the journey back to being able to productively tackle the myriad difficult topics faced by our country rather than dance around them and give them disgusting lip service. e economic impact of this project is also a factor in my conclusion that Fayetteville and Cumberland County need this center. A study conducted by ConsultEcon, Inc. in 2014 stated, "e preliminary attendance potential is estimat- ed at 75,000 to 135,000, with a midrange estimate rounded to 105,000 in a stable year of operation." at is no small economic impact. e projection considered Fayetteville's total offer- ing as reflected in the following statement. "When combined with: the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, the Transporta- tion and Local History Museum and the other recreational offerings and events sponsored in Fayetteville, along with Fayetteville's attractive downtown area, a suf- ficient 'critical mass' of visitor attractions will be created to significantly enhance the visitor pro- file of Fayetteville and its tourism economy." Given the increased "critical mass" of visi- tor attractions resulting from Segra Stadium, the Woodpeckers baseball team, a renovated Prince Charles Hotel and other downtown enhancements that were not in place at the time of this study, the economic impact will likely be even greater than the 2014 projections. e History Center was projected to cost $65 million. Fayetteville and Cumberland County passed resolutions saying that each of them would contribute $7.5 million. e History Center's board is endeavoring to raise $17.5 million. Every indica- tion is that if the History Center, including local government commitments, raises $32.5 million, the state will provide the remainder. Further, when the History Center is completed, the state will take over all funding requirements. For me, the economic impact component also speaks to the argument that the money could be better spent on more pressing needs. My response is that there must be balance between investing for long-term return and spending in the moment. Governments do a lot of spending in the moment while not investing for return. is center will give some balance. As a property owner whose taxes keep going up, I want to see some investment that produces return in terms of jobs and tax revenue. is project will do so. e economic impact study makes a couple other points that I find to be of tremendous value when assessing this project. is study was done when the facility was referred to as North Carolina Civil War History Center. "rough its onsite edu- cation offerings, outreach programs and online programs, NCCWHC will expand informal edu- cational opportunities for students in Fayetteville and State-wide. Enhanced opportunities for adult continuing education will also be created. "e quality of life benefits of the new NCCWHC may have the most profound and long-lasting im- pacts on the Fayetteville community. is project will improve community self-esteem and citizen- ship by becoming a source of community pride and identity. NCCWHC will enhance Fayetteville and the downtown area as a place to live, work and recreate, thus improving all aspects of the lo- cal economy and community." Finally, I am amazed by the distinguished and extremely capable individuals who are actively in- volved in giving life to the History Center. ere is some paid staff, but more than 100 volunteers are also investing their time and talents. Volunteers span civic leaders to educators and historians from here in Fayetteville, across the state and the country. I want to detail many of the staff and vol- unteers, but space will not allow it. Consequently, here are just a few. John "Mac" Healy and Mary Lynn Bryan serve, respectively, as president and vice president of the History Center's board of directors. ey are volunteers and spoke at the Cumberland County Citizens United meeting referenced in the open- ing paragraph. eir vision, commitment and superb leadership skills showed through not only in their presentations but also in the progress of this effort to date. David Winslow is president of the History Center. As president and founder of the Winslow Group, Inc., he brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and experience. This is coupled with a track record of successes in providing, from the company's website, "a full range of fundraising- related services including campaign counsel, fea- sibility studies, emergency fundraising, campaign planning, prospect/donor database manage- ment, organizational assessments, and strategic planning." In an article from 2009 titled "e Finish Line," David Wireback details how Winslow helped raise desperately needed funds to finish the Interna- tional Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greens- boro, North Carolina. Here are two lines from Wireback's opening: "Barely a year ago, efforts to transform the former F.W. Woolworth Co. build- ing into a world-class civil rights museum faced a huge challenge. Enter David Winslow, a Winston- Salem consultant with a statewide reputation for raising money for daunting projects." Please visit www.winslowgroupinc.com to learn more about the track record of David Winslow. Dr. James Anderson, outgoing chancellor at Fayetteville State University, is on the History Cen- ter's advisory board and is forthright in his support for this project. He speaks and writes in support. Even further, his organiz- ing of events that allow citizens to become fully informed demonstrates a level of understand- ing and commitment far above the routine. In recent weeks, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, a historian of the Civil War and the American South, committed to assisting with the digital education component. Faust served as the 28th president of Harvard University from July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2018. She was Harvard's first female president and the first Harvard president with- out a Harvard degree. Vines Architecture was chosen for this project. Victor Vines is president and principal. e design work is complete and available on the History Center's website. Even though no construction had begun, the impressive design earned an Unbuilt Merit Award from American Institute of Architects in North Carolina in 2014. America needs this center because it offers tre- mendous help in successfully addressing the racial tension and other issues that portend a dreadful future for this country. at help comes by way of a storytelling focus on people, an accuracy- producing process, positive economic impact, an effective educational approach and enhanced community self-esteem. Finally, the effort is in the hands of people who are fully committed and extraordinarily capable. KARL MERRITT, Columnist. COM- MENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200. North Carolina's Civil War stories are much more than the stories of soldiers and battles. ey are the stories of our homefront, and they include the experiences of women, children, the elderly, yeoman farmers and African Americans, freed and enslaved. ey are stories of Quaker pacifists and strong secessionists living side by side.

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