Up & Coming Weekly

September 19, 2017

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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4 SEPTEMBER 20 - 26, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Best Place to Commune With Nature/Best Wedding Venue Cape Fear Botanical Garden 536 N. Eastern Blvd. (910) 486-0221 or www.capefearbg.org A walk in the great outdoors can make many things right. A little sunshine, some fresh air and a bit of time with Mother Nature can soothe the soul. Cape Fear Botanical Garden is the place to do just that. At 80 acres, this beautiful property sits between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek — just moments from downtown. Specialty gardens on the grounds include Camellia, Daylily and Shade Gardens, Butterfly Stroll and Children's Garden, and the Heritage Garden featuring 1886 agricultural structures and a homestead. Enjoy a walk along the scenic river trail, take in beautiful water views, ask for a guided tour or just enjoy a moment or two on the patio over- looking the Cypress Pond. The garden not only celebrates indigenous plant life, it hosts events through- out the year that make it easy to embrace nature in every season. Events include concerts in the spring and fall, holiday lights in the garden, art and education workshops year-round and more. The Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Complex and beau- tiful scenery throughout the garden make it not only the best place to commune with nature, but also the best venue for a wedding ceremony. Best Local Festival Dogwood Festival 222 Hay St. (910) 323-1934 or www.faydogwoodfestival.com If you've ever been to the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, this needs no explaining. It's been 35 years since Bill Hurley, John Malzone and other dedicated city leaders came together to create this award-winning event. An authen- tic celebration of the community, the Dogwood Festival features an entire weekend of local and nation- al musicians, artists, arts and craft vendors, food, fun and more, much more. It's also a wonderful educational resource for parents and children. The 2017 spring festival was especially large with three stages of entertainment and more attractions past the Market House, including a combat pirate show, a jump perfor- mance by the world's best rope jumper and a professional juggler. Sanctioned events leading up to the festival weekend make the entire month of April lively and exciting. The Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Pageant, car shows, Hogs & Rags Motorcycle Rally, Mid-Carolina Senior Games, Recycled Art Show and Fayetteville Urban Ministry's Duck Derby make this event one of the most popular and prestigious in North Carolina. With more than 350,000 visitors every year, the festival's economic impact is over $4.5 million. The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival has a magical way of bringing the community together under the direction of Executive Director Carrie King and her 18-member board. Next goal: to recreate the spring Dogwood successfully in the fall. Best Change in Fayetteville I-295 Bypass It's been a long time coming, and the Outer Loop isn't even finished yet, but it's been heralded as the best change in Fayetteville. Bringing much-needed relief to those on the road, this project has changed the travel patterns of thousands of residents, making everyday commutes downtown to Fort Bragg or across the county oh-so-much faster and easier. Planning for the I-295 extension began in the 1980s. Sometimes the wheels of progress turn slowly, and in this instance, it's happening slowly and in stages. But it's sure been worth the wait. The first section of the project con- necting I-95 to U.S. 401 opened in 2005. Today, the outer loop extends to the All-American Freeway. The next phase, which runs from the All-American Freeway to Cliffdale Road, is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2018, leav- ing three more sections that will eventually connect Raeford Road, Camden Road and U.S. 401 and join I-95. Worst Change/Worst use of Local Tax Dollars Concrete Medians Are you kidding? How annoy- ing are these concrete barriers? And, they are everywhere. From Ramsey Street to Bragg Boulevard to Martin Luther King Boulevard, North Carolina Department of Transportation has dropped several million tons of concrete on local roadways to create medians — to the dismay of local travelers and business owners. With roads that see more than 50,000 cars a day, the medians are intended to reduce and prevent serious and fatal accidents. However, the eco- nomic cost has been detrimental to local businesses and organi- zations along these thorough- fares. Some have suffered great financial losses while others have actually gone out of business. Others argue the medians are a lifesaving investment, no matter how annoy- ing. These are not business owners — but there's weight to their claims. In December, Up & Coming Weekly senior news reporter Jeff Thompson cited two three-year studies about medians on Ramsey Street — one conducted before the medians and one from 2012 to 2015 (after medians were installed). The studies measured the number of crashes involving left-hand turns, side swipes and rear-enders at left-hand turn lanes. From his report: "The analysis took into account vehicles that disregarded the median and were involved in U-turn crashes at designated median openings. Each crash was independently verified. One hundred eighty-one … crashes had occurred during the three-year period before the median was built. Only 18 took place after that for a 90 percent reduction. Overall, auto accidents were reduced by 31 percent. The study disclosed that dozens of accidents between Tokay Drive and Andover Road were reduced to only two because of the presence of the median." Are they annoying? Yes. Are they worth it, economically speaking? We'll see. CITY LIFE CITY LIFE

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