Up & Coming Weekly

December 21, 2021

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 9 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM DECEMBER 22-28, 2021 UCW 9 ere are 18 performing arts centers in every major North Carolina city except Fayetteville. Cumberland County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe told Up & Coming Weekly that's about to change, and that one may finally be on the horizon after decades of discussion. Talk of a new performing arts center has been ongo- ing for at least 20 years, with its earliest mention in the city's 2002 Renaissance Plan. Keefe has been involved in the process for more than eight years. e main takeaways of a survey confirmed the area's desire for a facility and showed a need for it to cater to a younger and more diverse market — that's according to Conventions, Sports and Leisure, Executive Direc- tor, Adam Kerns. Kern's firm conducted the study. Keefe said the most viable source of funding for the center would be food and beverage taxes. "We can do this without any additional taxation." Keefe envisions a 90,000 square-foot multi-purpose center on three to four acres of city or county-owned property in downtown Fayetteville. "Everything is moving in the right direction for a facility to be up and running by 2025," Keefe said. Murchison Choice Plan centered on replacing FMHA's Murchison Townhouses e city of Fayetteville's Economic & Community Development Department administers the federal government's Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Grant. e De- partment primarily focuses on small business assis- tance, affordable housing development, and strategic real estate development. In December of 2020, the City of Fayetteville, in part- nership with the Fayetteville Metropolitan Housing Authority, was awarded a HUD Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant for the Murchison Road neighbor- hood. e City and FMHA are working with residents and a variety of community stakeholders including nonprofits, faith-based organizations and businesses to create a transformation plan. City councilman D.J. Haire grew up in the neighborhood. "I always felt that Murchison Road was playing catch up to some of the major corridors that we have within the city," Haire said. "We can do all the work we're doing but if we're not supporting and enhancing the communities that surround the corridor...then we're really not doing the full job." e plan is centered on replacing FMHA's Murchison Townhouses, which includes 60 units of public housing. e development is over 50 years old with many buildings in poor condition. e Murchison Road corridor has several physical structures that do not meet local building code standards. Businesses along Murchison Road have also suffered in recent decades as the neighborhood has declined. e planning process kicked off in early 2021 and will be completed in late 2022. City Council establishes police advisory board When people have concerns or complaints about potential police misconduct, those concerns need to be heard, investigated and resolved. e Fayetteville City Council has selected the citizens who will serve on the new Community Police Advisory Board. It was established in August of last year, but members were just named at a special coun- cil meeting on Dec. 13. e objective is to promote an atmosphere of trust between Fayetteville residents and the city police de- partment. e CPAB will review and recommend ways to improve police department policies and practices. e panel has the authority to examine public re- cords, but it does not have subpoena power. Chief of Police Gina Hawkins has said she welcomes the development knowing the Fayetteville Police Department. is a top-shelf organization. City coun- cil appointed ten members, one of whom will be a non-voting alternate. ree of the new members were selected by name. e others were picked randomly from those who had applied. ose selected for three-year terms are Lionel Cartwright, Jim Bove and Julie Aul. Two-year term members include Jacqueline Clay, Pablo Arroyo and Sidney King. Debra Slaughter, Tony Haire and Gregory Perkins were selected for one-year terms. Juana Mag- num will serve as the alternate. Cumberland School Board elects new leadership e Cumberland County Board of Education elected vice-chair Greg West to serve as the chairman and Deanna Jones to serve as the vice-chair of the Board for 2022. West will serve as the chairman for the fifth time in his 20 years of serving on the board. West will be replacing Board Chair, Alicia Chisolm. During the same meeting, the school board voted to not take action on a proposal to lower academic stan- dards to allow more students to participate in extra- curricular activities - a topic that's been discussed for more than a month now. e board also voted to keep face masks in place. First class of new Fort Bragg training facility graduates e first graduates of a new education program available at Fort Bragg will now have the training and certifications to work on BMWs. A newly renovated facility at Fort Bragg allows transitioning service members to receive a specialized on-base curriculum and hands-on technical training on diagnostics and technologies unique to the BMW brand. While renovations were happening in the fall, Fayetteville Technical Community College allowed BMW to rent a space to conduct training during September and November. e joint collaboration allowed students to stay on track and finish in the renovated space in December. "e Military Service Technician Education Pro- gram allows our transitioning service members to be extremely marketable candidates for rewarding careers. We are proud of the hard work and effort that our service members put into this course, and wish them the very best luck in their future endeavors," Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Scott Pence said. Performing Arts Center still on the horizon by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS DIGEST JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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