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Planning for Crown Event Center moves forward

A committee adopts ‘guiding principles’ for the proposed center that will replace the Crown theater and arena.


The “guiding principles’’ that are to be followed by those whose job it is to build a proposed Crown Event Center cleared another step Tuesday toward being fully incorporated into the design of the facility.

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners’ Crown Event Center Committee on Tuesday accepted a set of “guiding principles” that will be forwarded to the full board for final action.

Matt DeSilver, the senior project manager for the Crown Event Center, asked committee members to approve the guiding principles based on feedback from community engagement workshops. DeSilver and his team from MBT Carolinas held the workshops in May and June to get feedback as to how members of the community envision the event center. The county hired MBT Carolinas earlier this year to spearhead construction of the event center.

The workshops included 44 individuals and organization representatives. Staff sent multiple emails and made phone calls to those who did not respond to their initial email invitations.

Based on the community workshops, six guiding principles were identified. They call for an event center that is: 

  1. A local and regional asset that builds upon existing economic development infrastructure and is a catalyst for existing and new businesses to flourish.
  2. A venue that enhances and elevates the community as a premier destination for entertainment, events and gatherings.
  3. A quality, evolving and efficient venue that provides a first-class experience with a lasting impression.
  4. A flexible and functional venue with multiple spaces to accommodate a variety of programming.
  5. A premier, welcoming and accessible experience available to all patrons.
  6. An engaging community amenity that is financially self-sustaining.

DeSilver told the committee that feedback from the community indicated they want a “regional” asset that will attract people from other areas to come into Cumberland County and help develop the community and support businesses. Committee member Glenn Adams suggested they should tweak the wording to include the word “regional.”

“Local and regional interests are not the same. There’s no problem with what you have, you just need to add regional,” Adams said.

Committee member Jimmy Keefe made a motion to accept the guidelines, and the committee unanimously accepted the guiding principles with the amended wording. Commissioner Jeannette Council is the chairwoman of the committee.

County Manager Amy Cannon said the item will be on the board's September agenda-setting session.

DeSilver also said MBT and county management staff will move forward with hiring an architect by issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ).

The committee went into closed session to discuss real estate acquisition. The committee took no action once it came back into open session.

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

Cumberland County, Crown Event Center, guiding principles