Log in Newsletter

Board votes to build Crown Event Center downtown

The Cumberland County commissioners also vote to hire Clarence Grier as the next county manager


Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Commissioner Charles Evans voted for the new county manager.

The Board of Commissioners voted Monday to build the new Crown Event Center downtown in the space between the current courthouse and the historic courthouse on Gillespie street.

The space is currently a parking lot.

In less than an hour, the commissioners hired a new county manager, disclosed the site of the new event center, and authorized the county manager to work out a contract with the center’s recently hired architect. 


In a 6-1 vote, the commissioners hired Clarence Grier as the new county manager. Grier is currently the deputy city manager in Roanoke, Virginia. Voting in favor were Commissioners Larry Lancaster, Jeannette Council, Toni Stewart, Charles Evans, Jimmy Keefe and board Chairman Glenn Adams. Commissioner Michael Boose voted in opposition.

County Manager Amy Cannon is retiring in December. 


The board actions came during a special called meeting that took place in Room 564 at the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. 


Commissioners-elect Marshall Faircloth and Veronica Jones attended the meeting. They will be sworn in as county commissioners on Dec. 5.

During his campaign, Faircloth said he looked forward to being involved in choosing a new county manager. Asked about having been left out of the process, Faircloth replied, “I’m glad they got it done. Too bad they didn’t get the water issue resolved,” he quipped, referring to the contaminated water supply in the Gray’s Creek community. 


Grier served as deputy county manager of Guilford County from February 2015 to early 2021, when he left for undisclosed reasons. In the summer of 2021, he became deputy manager of the city of Roanoke. 


Grier earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Campbell University in the early 1980s, where he was a basketball standout. He was drafted by the NBA’s Houston Rockets; however, he never played, opting instead to work in local government. He also is a certified public accountant. He is due to start his job in Cumberland County on March 1. 


Boose later said he did not vote against the person hired for county manager but against the process. He said the selection process was supposed to allow commissioners to fully participate in interviews for the top three candidates, which included choosing two for another interview before selecting the final candidate. 


Boose said he was allowed one “canned question” during the interview, and it was handed to him by the recruiting firm. “That was my entire interaction with him,” Boose said. 


Crown Event Center

The Crown Event Center will be built on property now being used as a parking lot between the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse on Dick Street and the old courthouse on Gillespie Street.

The proposed 69,000- to 89,000-square-foot-center will replace the aging theater and arena at the Crown Coliseum Complex on U.S. 301 Business. The two facilities are scheduled to close in 2025. 


“I’m pleased to share this exciting information,” Cannon told commissioners.

Your support helps ensure a more informed community. Donate today.

Cannon said she was confident the site meets the “guiding principles” adopted by the board for construction of the event center. She said the site selection committee focused on county- or city-owned property, including at the Fayetteville Outer Loop, the Crown Complex, and the downtown area. The selection committee targeted six downtown properties for analysis before recommending the parking lot between the two county courthouses. 


Adams later told CityView, “Rest assured parking will be provided” when asked about the loss of county parking spaces at the courthouse. “We had major conversations about displaced parking,” he said.

“There’s a parking deck just down the street. Most major cities (in North Carolina) use parking decks, he said. 


Assistant County Manager Brian Haney said the county currently leases parking spaces from the Presbyterian church across the street. Also, parking and accessibility will be an integral part of the design of the event center. 


Haney also said that most major events at the center will occur in the evening or on weekends when more parking is available, including behind the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Courthouse. 


Cannon told commissioners that “walkability” and access to amenities were factors in selecting the site. She said the selection committee used a matrix to cull the properties from 12 to two. And upon further research, including soil sampling and environmental site assessments, she assured the commissioners there were no environmental concerns about the chosen site. 


The board also voted in favor of allowing the county’s administration and legal staff to finalize a contract between the county and Ewing Cole for architectural design services and construction management for the multi-purpose center. 


Jermaine Walker, head of the county’s engineering department, said the contract covers the design of a “scaleable and flexible” venue for an array of purposes, from performances to banquets. The contract also includes services for scheduling, construction management, and preparations for demolition. 


Keefe said the completion of the event center is on a “hard deadline.” He asked Walker if the contract included a penalty clause for not completing the project on time. Walker replied that a penalty clause would be added further into the construction phase of the project. 

Jason Brady covers Cumberland County government for CityView. He can be reached at jbrady@cityviewnc.com.







Cumberland County, Board of Commissioners, downtown Fayetteville, Crown Event Center