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Fayetteville-Cumberland senior center expected to open this summer

Parks and recreation director updates City Council on bond projects


The director of Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation told the City Council on Monday that plans for a new senior center are on track.

The Bill Crisp Senior Center is expected to be completed sometime this summer.

“We have a tremendous contractor. Just driving by it doesn’t do it justice,” Director Michael Gibson said.

Gibson updated the City Council on his department’s bond projects during the council’s regular meeting Monday night.

“I always tell seniors that (with) investment in senior recreation, this council has done probably some of the best work in the state as far as valuing seniors and the seniors in this community,” he said. “It’s well underway, and we’ll be meeting that milestone that we want to do to make sure we cut the ribbon on that one. I can’t wait to see that thing open.”

The center is being built on Lake Rim.

Council members shared his optimism.

“I visit all the time up there. I’m very excited,” Councilman Larry Wright said. “I’ve talked to the people out there – the senior citizens – and everybody is just jacked.”

During his presentation, Gibson also gave updates on the Senior Center East, Mable C. Smith Park expansion, Dorothy Gilmore Recreation Center, Cape Fear River Park, McArthur Road sports complex and a planned tennis center.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Glenville Lake Trail, a couple of current park projects, also were part of the discussion.

Gibson said he expects bids soon on the Senior Center East project at Murchison and Filter Plant roads.

“It will be another building that adds tremendous value to seniors from an inner-city or urban environment – just showing seniors we appreciate what they do in this community from a recreation standpoint,” he said.

“It’s a tremendous asset that is going to be done for parks and recreation and our community to enjoy,” said Gibson.

The McArthur Road sports complex is moving as fast as the federal government will allow, the director said. “The design is going good.”

He said it will be “another jewel” for Fayetteville and Cumberland County and a valuable recreation asset.

“People are excited,” he said.

Bids for the planned tennis center are expected to come in over the next couple of weeks.

“We’ll be competing with some of the best facilities in the state,” he told council members.

Expansion of Mable C. Smith Park on Deep Creek Road is underway. Gibson said his department has received all the pieces for a splash pad and that construction is going well.

“They’ll have some value in that community” after the park upgrade, he said.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park is at 739 Blue St., off Murchison Road. Gibson said he had a good conversation with the director and architect of that project.

“They’ve combined up to about $7 million to make sure that project goes. And that collaboration – how we manage that project from both sides of the ledger – is going really well. The senior management group at the city manager’s office is making sure that that doesn’t lag, that there is no interruption of that project.

“Hopefully, we’ll do justice there just as we’re doing with the rest of the other projects,” he added.

Gibson said the park provides tremendous value for the Murchison Road corridor.

And after receiving direction from the council, Glenville Lake Trail is being added to the center city park trail plan.

Mayor pro tem Kathy Jensen told Gibson that the city’s parks and recreation plans have “come a long way since 2015.”

“I think that just for the public to know out there, not one project has been easy. It has taken a lot of time, a lot of collaboration,” Jensen said. “I can say so far that every project we have brought out on this bond (package) has been a home run.

“We’re going to keep pushing and making sure we do these projects on time," Jensen said. "And we’re not finished yet.”

Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram made a motion to accept the report from the parks and recreation department. The motion was passed on a unanimous 10-0 vote.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, City Council, parks and recreation, bond package