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Public can provide input on Market House repurposing during meetings Thursday


The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the repurposing of the Market House during two meetings scheduled for Thursday.

The Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission is seeking the additional community input. 

The first meeting is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m., and the second will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Both meetings will take place at the Kiwanis Recreation Center, 352 Devers St., the city said in a release.

"The meetings will provide participants the opportunity to review the recommendations put forth by the U.S. Department of Justice City SPIRIT process completed earlier this year that compiled various suggestions for repurposing," the city said in the release. "Fayetteville residents who attend will be given three markers to place next to the repurposing options in each of the three categories: themed events, marketing and art."

Since space may be limited, those who are interested in attending are urged to register at fayettevillenc.gov/markethouse. Attendance is not required to offer feedback. The registration form includes a space for residents to provide input.

Over the coming month, the Human Relations Commission also will complete a series of community discussions with nearly a dozen affinity groups throughout the city to gather diverse feedback on repurposing recommendations, the city said.

The information gathered during this process will be provided to the Fayetteville City Council for review in July, the release said.

The City Council voted last month to hear from more residents before making a decision on how to repurpose the Market House. They made the decision after hearing the Department of Justice report on the Market House.

The Department of Justice worked with 80 people – in what was described as a diverse group from different walks of life – during two sessions in October and January to glean opinions for repurposing the Market House. 

Possibilities include an art display, a Black culture and history display, a marketplace for Black vendors, an educational or themed event space, as well as expanding the base and alleviating the multiple traffic lanes that encircle the Market House.

The Market House has been a divisive issue for years, mainly because of its history of slaves being sold there.

On May 30, 2020, rioters broke into the building and set fire to it following protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. After it was vandalized, the city blocked off the Market House with fencing.

The fencing was removed earlier this month.

There has been discussion among community leaders, including the City Council, of repurposing the structure as an education center to chronicle its history.

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, City Council, Market House, repurposing