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Bill Kirby Jr.: Is downtown the place for an events center? Maybe there’s a better alternative

Readers react to Market House debate, support justice in officers’ slayings


Over here along Breezewood Avenue, where CityView TODAY comes to life each day, we enjoy hearing from you about what’s on your mind when it comes to the city, county and community. You, our readers and subscribers, are as important to our daily operations as are we – the editors, reporters, writers and photographers.

 Your turn: “Great article, especially your comment about ‘some of us are not married to downtown,’” Charles H. Hunger writes in an email about the April 6 column on a multipurpose events center. “I totally agree with that statement, although the new baseball field does bring me downtown. I have lived in Fayetteville for a little more than 25 years so now really consider Fayetteville home. For some time, I have seen the Cliffdale-Glensford area really grow and thought that would be a great area for the new entertainment center. Sure, Interstate 295 appears to be a good open area, but with the large population around the Cliffdale-Glensford area, that, to me, makes more sense. I hope you agree. It is interesting that when we moved to Gates Four 25 years ago, many people commented that that was really out in the country, and now with two elementary schools, a middle school and Jack Britt High School, that shows how the city has spread out. But an entertainment center needs to be closer to town, so I highly recommend the open space of Cliffdale-Glensford to be the ideal area. Thanks for your great thoughts on paper.”

 My turn: You are right, Mr. Hunger, about growth out Cliffdale and Glensford way. I am sure MPB Carolinas Inc., the consultant that will provide a project manager for construction, including securing a potential site, will look at the area along with other sites, including downtown, the I-295 loop and even the Crown Complex. But you are right, Mr. Hunger, I’m not married to downtown. Not against it so much. But not married to it.

 Your turn: “Bill, thank you for your excellent article covering the new event venue,” WFAI radio owner Wes Cookman writes about the April 6 column on the events center that the county is planning to build at a cost of $84.2 million. “You write, ‘The I-295 Outer Loop seems so much more appropriate, with far more traffic ingress and egress, and so close to the military base.’ You make an interesting point. Hopefully, CityView TODAY coverage generates interest and there can be wide community engagement on this critical decision.”

My turn: The site selection will be in the hands of MBP Carolinas. I like the idea of a downtown location; I’m just not married to the idea. But patron parking always should be a consideration. I just like the possibility of the I-295 loop because of the ingress and egress and the proximity of the military base. Or the Crown Complex still is a possibility, too. And you don’t have to pay for that dirt because it is county-owned.

Your turn: “Mr, Kirby, just a thank you for your reporting on the Market House in CityView TODAY,” Charlie King writes in an email about the April 8 column on restoration of the downtown historic landmark. “I find your reasoned and broad-minded reporting (valuable).  But in all that I have read over the past – has it been two years? –  reporting on the Market House, I have never, ever heard anyone comment on the Market House’s worth as architecture. By this, I mean to say that I have never read any comments on anything other than its history or its utility. Is the Market House not beautiful, well-proportioned and a delight to see in the center of our city? We are surrounded with architectural mediocrity, so I value this reminder that a building's worth need not be measured just by how well it keeps the weather out or who may have used it in the past. Unlike a monument or a statue, which has no meaning apart from its history, a building has its own story, and as long as the building is standing, that story continues.” 

My turn: Yes, Mr. King, architecturally pleasing for sure. And its story should be told, not erased. Just another reason to repurpose the Market House as an education venue for generations to come.

Your turn: “Your article on repurposing the Market House is spot on,” Mayon Weeks writes in an email about our April 27 column noting that no slaves will ever be sold at the Market House again. “Excellent perspective.”

My turn: Never will we see those days again. It’s not acceptable.

Your turn: “So we want to repurpose the Market House,” Mel Smith writes in an email about the April 27 column. “There is a lot more history there than the selling of slaves. In fact, although some slaves were sold there, the county courthouse was the predominant location for such sales. The (Market House) was a meeting place for our legislature before Raleigh became our state capital. The vote for statehood and selection of Raleigh as our state capital took place there. Then there was the fire that destroyed most of downtown Fayetteville. The Market House replaced the original building. It became a center of trade for farmers, as well as city and county meetings. And yes, some slaves were sold there. So all the residents of Fayetteville should be represented in any repurposing of the site. Let it tell the whole history.

My turn: You are right, Mr. Smith. Just tell the history – all of it and for all this community.

Your turn: “I read your article on the new apartment complex on top of the Hay Street parking deck and I was curious about how tall it will be,” Jim Lamm writes in an email about the March 27 column about the downtown parking deck that will have apartments above and not a hotel. “The original project called for a five-story hotel and seven-story tower making the total 12 stories. Do you know the total stories on the new project? Thanks for your great reporting over the years.”

My turn: When you want to know something about a downtown building project, always go to a reliable source who tells it straight. “The parking garage is five stories, and we are building a U-shape building on top with the open side of the ‘U’ along Hay Street and the closed side facing the baseball stadium,” says Jordan Jones, project manager for the apartments above the parking garage. “The leg of the ‘U’ facing Haymount will be seven stories. Most of the closed side of the ‘U’ facing the stadium will be seven stories. The leg of the ‘U’ facing the Prince Charles will be six stories.”

Your turn: “The articles on the Ed Lowry-David Hathcock killings have been excellent,” Tim Hinton says in an email about CityView TODAY’s coverage on the resentencing  hearing conducted April 11-13 at the Cumberland County Courthouse. The hearing was to amend the murder sentences of life in prison without parole for Kevin Golphin, who killed state Highway Patrolman Ed Lowry and Cumberland County sheriff’s Deputy David Hathcock during a traffic stop on Sept. 23, 1997, on Interstate 95.  “I understand that as a journalist, it is a very difficult subject to address. I lived next to Dixie Lowry Davis’s sister, Peggy Koonce, during those times. ... (It was) painful and hurtful to all, and the pain still lingers for us all. I can only hope that Al Lowry, whom I went to high school with, can at some point find some peace. I do not expect that he will find forgiveness, nor do I blame him. Spot on reporting, Bill, once again.”

My turn: Just a senseless crime. Not only were Trooper Ed Lowry and Deputy David Hathcock shot, but Tilmon Golphin and Kevin Golphin, according to trial testimony, shot them while they lay dying on the ground along the interstate. Tilmon Golphin will spend his life behind bars, without eligibility for parole. Superior Court Judge Tom Lock ruled in the recent resentencing trial for Kevin Golphin that he will spend his life in prison, too, without the possibility of parole.

Your turn: “Bill, just read your article about Mrs. Lowry testifying about the request for parole of one of the people who killed her husband,” Kevin Arata of Bald Head Island writes in an email about the testimony of Dixie Lowry Davis, which was reported in our April 12 column about the resentencing hearing for Kevin Golphin. “What a travesty that he is even being considered for parole. You captured her emotions so well. Just hope the judge sees it her way, too. Thanks for all you and the team are doing at CityView. I read your daily news brief pretty much every day. Keep up the great work.”

My turn: Painful for most in the courtroom to see the widow of the slain trooper relive that horrific day, Sept. 23, 1997. Lawyers for Kevin Golphin argued that he was 17 at the time of the murders, and that a juvenile should not be confined to prison without the possibility of parole. Dixie Lowry Davis disagreed. Brother Al Lowry disagreed. Col. Freddie Johnson Jr., commander of the N.C. Highway Patrol, disagreed. Prosecutor Rob Thompson disagreed. The judge disagreed.

Your turn: “Mr. Kirby, I had to take the time to sincerely thank you for the beautiful tribute to my dad,” Tiffany Jones writes in an email about the April 20 column on Darvin Jones, the longtime face and voice of the Take Charge of Your Health initiative for Cape Fear Valley Health System, and particularly for his work for the better health of African Americans in this community. “Throughout this whole ordeal, I wanted so badly for everyone to know just how much dad did for the community and how widespread and significant his impact was. It could not have been said better than the heartfelt words you wrote. They brought tears to our eyes and left us feeling so full of pride. Dad was never one to toot his own horn, so to see others sing his praises has been extremely comforting. Fayetteville needed to know what Darvin Jones did for it, and now it knows thanks to you, Mr. Kirby. We cannot thank you enough. God bless you.”

My turn: Your father, Miss Jones, is one of the unsung heroes of this community. He did his work in a quiet and humble way. I knew your father and his character. He was one of the most heartfelt men this community has ever known, and the African American community never knew a better friend than your father. When Cape Fear Valley Health is looking to name a room in someone’s honor at its Center for Medical Education building when it opens this fall, it need look no further than your father. Darvin Keith Jones was 62 when he died suddenly on April 13.

Your turn: “Just read your article on Darvin Jones,” Carol Quigg writes. “Gosh, I wish I could have known him. What a man he was. Your portrayal of him was wonderful. I know he is walking and dancing on those streets of gold in heaven right this minute. Keep up the good work.”

My turn: He spoke softly, and he walked softly. His footprints in this community are large, and they are everywhere in the African American community. Your father, Mrs. Quigg, had everything to do with the founding of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in the mid-1950s. Darvin Jones’ gifts to health care would have made your father proud.

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

Fayetteville, Market House, events center, downtown, Ed Lowry, David Hathcock, Kevin Golphin, Darvin Jones