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County to consider funding for improvements to Martin Luther King Jr. Park


The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on Thursday will consider a proposed agreement to pay the city of Fayetteville $2.5 million for improvements to the Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

The total cost of the improvement project is projected at $7.2 million. The project is spearheaded by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park Committee, a local nonprofit organization. The money will be used to renovate and update the park on Blue Street.

Among the recommendations by the committee is to build a 120-foot spire that would include a light on the top that would be lit on special celebrations associated with Dr. King’s memory and milestones.

The state of North Carolina appropriated $2.5 million to the committee, the city appropriated $2.5 million, and Cumberland County is looking to provide the remaining $2.5 million. According to published reports, the state’s share of $2.5 million will come from the Murchison Road corridor fund.

In November 2021, the commissioners approved a capital project ordinance for the construction project. The city also approved funding for the project. The park is owned by the city of Fayetteville.

The proposed funding agreement between the city and county is scheduled for consideration at the Board of Commissioners’ regularly scheduled agenda session. The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Room 564 at the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. At that meeting, county commissioners will discuss the proposal and vote on whether to place the item on the board’s Oct. 17 regular meeting agenda as a consent item.

Under the agreement, the city would assume responsibility for the construction project but not for the design of the improvements. The agreement proposes that the city is responsible for obtaining and administering all construction contracts. The proposed agreement also states that the city is solely responsible for the maintenance of the improvements.

During the construction, the agreement proposes that the city provide construction invoices monthly to the county, which will pay its share 30 days after getting the invoices.

The proposed agreement hinges on the committee getting design money from the state, and that the city and the committee adhere to all funding requirements between the committee and the state.

The proposed agreement also proposes that the county contract with the committee for design and architectural services. According to a memo to the commissioners from the county legal office, the county attorney will draft a contract after reviewing the funding agreement between the committee and the state. The memo states that no county funds will be used before a contract between the county and the committee is in place.

The county had asked the committee for the funding agreement, but it has not yet received the information, perhaps due to the unexpected death of Wilson Lacy, the committee’s long-time member and president.

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The commissioners also are scheduled to consider whether to add to their upcoming consent agenda the submission of FY 2024 applications for the Community Transportation Program Grant Funds.

County planning staff is asking the commissioners to consider approving grant applications for community transportation programs, including the Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP). These grants pay for the Cumberland County Community Transportation Program, which coordinates transportation using local transportation providers. The funding period runs from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.

The grants would pay for trips to work, school, medical appointments and general errands. The administrative portion would be used for salaries and fringes of the transportation coordinator and the transportation assistants, office supplies, driver drug and alcohol testing, travel to meetings and conferences, program marketing for all services provided to county residents, legal advertising and North Carolina Public Transportation Association (NCPTA) membership, according to a memo submitted to county commissioners. The total grant request is $915,176 with a local match of $156,947.

The staff also is asking commissioners for guidance on variable lot residential development options.

At the board’s June 6 regular meeting, several commissioners asked staff to review the county's subdivision ordinance regarding zero lot line standards. The commissioners asked that staff provide them with options for a possible amendment to that ordinance. The county’s legal and planning department developed three lengthy options for the board's consideration and is expected to present them at Thursday’s meeting.

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