The Last Word: Celebrating downtown Fayetteville and those who believed
By Tony Chavonne
One of the major goals we have at CityView is to help build a sense of community. We strive to do that through informing, involving and inspiring our readers with stories and images of our great city.
This issue of CityView celebrates our downtown with a look at our past, an update on our present and dreams of our future. We will use this issue each year to focus on the downtown as we continue our proud rebirth of this historic area.
For more than 250 years, our downtown has been the heart and soul of our community and a place where dreams are made. A healthy and growing downtown is a key to a strong community and often provides an indicator of larger social and economic trends.
Downtowns are important for many reasons. They often contain the most iconic landmarks, historic buildings and distinctive features. They are a community’s living room. How a city values and nurtures its downtown tells you a lot about its own self-esteem as a community.
Most importantly, our downtown belongs to all of us. It doesn’t matter if you live in the downtown or Rim Road or the “North Side,” our downtown belongs to you. If you come to shop or eat in one of the many restaurants, to attend a concert or baseball game, or just to enjoy the history, Fayetteville’s downtown is your downtown.
Progressive downtowns know where they are going because they understand where they’ve been. In this issue of CityView, you’ll able to read about some of the downtown’s proud history and the people who helped make positive change.
We are proud to recognize visionary leaders who had a dramatic impact on the development of our downtown.
Community leaders like C.R. Edwards who provided a calming influence when objections arose about using the Market House during the Bicentennial of the Constitution Ratification celebration, defusing a potentially volatile situation with passion and diplomacy.
Elected leaders like Bill Hurley who took bold and aggressive actions to eliminate the adult entertainment from the downtown with the demolition of the infamous 500 block of Hay Street.
Historians like Rosalie Kelly whose dedication to downtown preservation over the years earned her the title “The First Lady of History,” writing several of the downtown Local Landmark nominations and providing leadership on countless tours and celebrations of her beloved downtown.
This year, we have partnered with the Cool Spring Downtown District to share its annual State of the District Report with you as a pullout in this issue of CityView. The report introduces key indicators that help provide a benchmark on where we are and tools to track our progress going forward.
We are also proud to join with our co-sponsors to present The 2021 Downtown Visionaries Luncheon on June 22 when we will recognize these visionary leaders, hear a presentation of the State of the District Report and discuss opportunities for the future of our downtown with keynote speaker Jordan Jones, project manager of the Prince Charles Hotel Holdings Group.
CityView is proud to help celebrate our downtown and the resiliency that it has demonstrated for more than 250 years – in overcoming devastating fires, floods, wars, civil unrest, a sometimes seedy reputation and urban flight – in becoming the heart of our city.
We are downtown Fayetteville, a place where memories are made. Celebrate with us.