Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Dreams

By Bill Kirby Jr.

            Call it a day of honor, remembrance and a look to the downtown future as CityView Magazine staged its inaugural Downtown Visionaries luncheon June 22 in the Segra Stadium corporate suite to honor and remember the late Fayetteville mayor Bill Hurley, the late city historian Rosalie Huske Kelly and the late Rev. C.R. Edwards, the longtime pastor at First Baptist Church on Moore Street and civil rights activist. “We are here today to celebrate our past and continue to build on our dreams,” Tony Chavonne, publisher of CityView Magazine and a former four-term mayor, told a capacity audience “That’s why we are here. Because we love this town.” The Downtown Visionaries, according to Chavonne, will become an annual event honoring and remembering city residents who have made a difference in downtown Fayetteville.

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            “COVID froze my project, but I am committed to bringing back the project this year,” Jordan Jones, the real estate developer with Prince Charles Holdings and keynote speaker at the Downtown Visionaries luncheon told the audience to its applause about continuing to develop the historic hotel into condominiums and the adjacent parking garage that will include a $127 million Hyatt Hotel atop. “We’ll probably start that in early 2022. I’m going to continue to invest in downtown and take risks.”

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            The annul Fort Bragg July 4th Celebration has hit one out of the park this Independence Day by securing Foreigner to the Main Post Parade Field. Gates open at 3 p.m for the free day of patriotic celebration and entertainment. The 82nd All-American Rock Band performs at 4:45 p.m., a parachute demonstration is set for 5:45 p.m., a U.S. Flag ceremony at 6 p.m., music by The Fifth at 6:45 p.m., Foreigner at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Yes sir, with Foreigner, Fort Bragg has a grand slam home run.

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            Julia Atkins is the new interim executive director for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, according to a FSO news release, while Anna Meyer has been named the community engagement manager. By the way, Atkins worked for the FSO from 2013 to 2018 as director of artistic operations and marketing.

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            Sad to see the wrecking ball take down the old Christ United Methodist Church across from Tallywood Shopping Center on Raeford Road. The church, circa 1953, closed in September of 2019 because of declining membership. The congregation now is part of Haymount United Methodist Church.

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             “Bill, I just read the article about Sarah,” Priscilla Wright sends along an email about our May 25 CityView newsletter story highlighting Sarah Wright, the 18-yeard-old Student Government Association president at Terry Sanford High School. “Thank you so much for doing it. I feel it’s important to recognize the positives in life, for we hear too many negatives. Sarah definitely is a positive young lady, and I’m very proud of her.” Not only was Sarah president of the SGA, she was president of her freshman, sophomore and junior classes, too. She’s heading to East Carolina University in the fall to study biology and chemistry, with hopes one day of entering the health care field.

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            “Bill, great column in CityView,” Jim Haygood writes about our recent CityView newsletter story regarding Bernhard Capitol Partnership out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, attempting to acquire management of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission. “John Malzone is exactly right. And Don Talbot. Fayetteville has faults like every city. PWC is not one of them.” You are correct, Mr. Haygood, just like John Malzone and Don Talbot. Our hometown utility is well managed with low rates and strong service. We’re doing fine, thank you, without any outside management.

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            Robert Warren loved life in the mobile production van, where he knew every button, switch and television monitor when it came to creating productions for high school football, motor racing and even Highland Presbyterian Church services on Sunday mornings. Wife Elizabeth and son Bob manned the cameras. He was there as a news anchor for one of our first local television stations, worked on air for WRAL-TV and left his most distinctive mark with his Robert Warren Mobile Video Productions out of Eastover. He was a professional when it came to video, always made sure his productions were just what you wanted and gave a wink of the eye and a smile when the job was done. I spent many hours in his mobile production van out in Eastover, the place he called home, and admired him deeply for who he was. Robert Winslow Warren died at age 78 on May 30, 2021.

            Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@cityviewnc.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961