Up & Coming Weekly

November 03, 2020

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 10 of 24

10 UCW NOVEMBER 4-10, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NEWS JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Regional sports facility approved by JEFF THOMPSON Fayetteville City Council voted to locate a $9 million sports complex on property owned by the U.S. Army at I-295 and McArthur Road. e completed baseball and softball fields would be shared by Fort Bragg troops and the general public. (Photo for illustration purposes.) e Fayetteville City Council has decided to locate a $9 million sports complex on property owned by the U.S. Army at I-295 and McArthur Road. Council had also considered a city-owned tract on Fields Road in East Fayetteville. A five-year lease agree- ment with Fort Bragg calls for developing the first phase of the sports complex at a cost of $3.5 million. e city approved a memorandum of understanding with Fort Bragg to build baseball and softball fields which would be shared by Fort Bragg troops and the general public. e city will build and maintain the complex, which will provide priority use by soldiers during specified weekly time periods. e money to launch the complex will be drawn from proceeds of the 2016 $35 million parks and recreation bond referen- dum. e facility will eventually include additional sports and recreation facilities which have not yet been designated by the city. e City Council was divided on the initial agreement, with council mem- bers Shakeyla Ingram, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Tisha Waddell dissenting. ey preferred the Fields Road site. Citizens "east of the river have been advocating for development and investment for longer than I have been alive," Ingram said. Councilman Chris Davis called her remarks divisive, pointing out that 60% of bond revenues have been spent in Ingram's district. Dis- trict 2 consists of the region east of the river and the downtown business area. A staff report provided to council earlier proposes opening this first phase of the sports com- plex two years from now. City Council also agreed on a $1.5 million upgrade of the Jor- dan Soccer Complex at Methodist University. e city/county recre- ation and parks department will install a lighting system and reno- vate the soccer fields and parking facilities. e university gets the upgrades, while the city hopes the improvements will generate greater interest in sanctioned tournament play to generate in- come. e lease provides for open use of the soccer fields by the public when tournaments are not being held. e agreement also officially designated the complex as the trailhead for the Cape Fear River Trail. Recreation Director Michael Gibson said this project gives the city the ability to expand its soccer and football programs while also providing 35 acres of undesignated green space. In other business at the Oct. 26 meeting, City Council members unanimously approved an agree- ment with Fayetteville State University to develop a multi-million-dollar East Senior Center at the intersection of Filter Plant and Murchison Roads. It will resemble the first of two regional senior centers funded by the 2016 parks and recreation referen- dum. e Senior Center West was built adjacent to the recreation center at Lake Rim. Gibson said this project will be a "game-changer" for redevelopment of the Murchison Road corridor. PWC names Ball as new CEO/General Manager a STAFF REPORT e Fayetteville Public Works Commission announced that Elaina Ball will be the utility's next CEO/General Man- ager. Ball, who brings 14 years of utility experience to PWC, is the first female leader in PWC's 115-year history and just the 9th CEO/General Manager. Ball will join PWC Dec. 1 and succeeds David Trego who will retire Dec. 31 after leading PWC since 2015. Ball comes to PWC from El Paso Electric where she served as Senior Vice President in Operations and Administration roles. Since 2018, she oversaw functional areas of the Com- pany including Power Generation, Power Marketing, T&D, Customer Care, Technology, Safety, Environmental and Public Relations and Corporate Communications. "Elaina has a wealth of experience in the electric indus- try, including generation, which is a huge asset for us, "said PWC Chair Wade Fowler. "She's been a leader at outstanding utilities including public power utilities in San Antonio and Austin Texas," Fowler said. "She was highly sought after by several other organizations and we are very fortunate that she chose PWC and Fayetteville. We are excited about the future of PWC and what she brings to it. She's a very relationship oriented and in addition to PWC, is looking forward to her involvement in the community." She was responsible for over 800 employees and helped El Paso set new records for annual customer satisfaction scores and earn its first JD Power top performing utility award in 2019 as well as helping them through a successful merger with IIF, an infrastructure investment fund advised by J.P. Morgan. El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility that serves over 400,000 customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. Ball served in leadership roles at two of the nation's largest municipally owned electric systems. Prior to joining El Paso Electric, Ball worked at Austin Energy, the publicly owned electric utility serving 450,000 customers in the Austin, Texas area. While at Austin Energy, she served as Chief Operating Of- ficer and was responsible for power generation, transmis- sion and distribution, information technology and onsite energy resources. She also served on the board of the South Texas Nuclear Project electric generating station. Ball served as Vice President, Technical Services at CPS Energy, the municipally owned electric and gas utility serving over 800,000 customers in the greater San Antonio area from 2006-2012. At CPS, she was responsible for elec- tric transmission, substation and distribution engineering, and operational technology, among other functions. "I'm very excited to join the great team at the PWC and for our family to be a part of this community," said Ball. "PWC is a significant asset and plays a vital role in the community's success. It is known throughout both the electric and water utility industry for its excellent opera- tions and I look forward to continuing the legacy of strong leadership at the PWC and continuing that excellence of providing safe and reliable service to our customers." Ball is an active civic leader, currently serving on the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Direc- tors and El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Board of Directors. She is also a current Board of Directors member of the Association of Women in Energy. A native of Texas, Ball has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from e University of Texas at Austin. Fayetteville PWC is a municipally owned utility that provides electric, water and wastewater service to over 118,000 customers in Fayetteville/Cumberland County. PWC has over 600 employees and is the 37th largest municipal electric utility in the U.S. Elaina Ball

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