Local News

Stadium to cost $38 million

07Stadium w buldingsLost in the city of Fayetteville’s enthusiasm to develop a minor league baseball stadium was a Durham property developer’s interest in renovating the former Prince Charles Hotel. Fayetteville native Jordan Jones became project manager for what became PCH Holdings, Inc. Jones’ grandfather built the eight-story Hay Street hotel in 1924. Jones and his colleagues approached city government about what the city might do in support of their project.

That’s when former Deputy City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney suggested a baseball stadium. Eventually, city-owned property adjacent to the old hotel was selected for the ballpark. She’s no longer with the city, and Deputy Manager Kristoff Bauer took up the project.

This month, Bauer announced that an initial $47 million stadium cost projection had been reduced to nearly $38 million by contractor Barton Malow. But, that was $5 million over the budget city council established two years ago. All sub contracts had been bid, and the final price of $37,885,102 was agreed to. The only thing not included in the city’s cost is interest on the loan.

Bauer told council that site preparation work had exceeded expectations by $4 million. There were other project elements, including a more elaborate scoreboard and LED lighting, that increased the budget. “This has been a challenging process,” Bauer said.

The city’s budget director, Tracey Broyles, told city council the city has the capacity to absorb the difference in the projected budget by diverting $1 million a year from its capital improvement fund in the out years to make bond payments.

Council will have to decide which CIP projects to sacrifice. Council members voted unanimously to go forward with the project.

“It’s too late to turn back now,” said councilman Bill Crisp. He reminded members he had been adamantly opposed to the project initially. He now calls the project a “renaissance,” which is the impetus for $100 million plus in economic development projects.

Bauer and Barton Malow executives estimate as many as 1,000 construction jobs and upward of 500 permanent operating jobs will grow out of the stadium project and the surrounding building opportunities. They include a five-story parking garage with a hotel and eight-story office building atop it.

City council will now submit its funding application to the North Carolina Local Government Commission for approval to issue limited-obligation bonds to finance the stadium’s construction.

“We’ve been confident this entire time that they would develop a beautiful stadium,” said Mark Zarthar, president of the Fayetteville Baseball Club.

The Houston Astros own the minor league team that will play in Fayetteville beginning next year, and they will manage the stadium. Team President Reid Ryan, the son of major league hall of famer Nolan Ryan, agreed to a 30-year lease on the stadium. The team will announce the name of the team and its mascot in mid-April.

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Greyhound signs on at FAST Transit Center

06GreyhoundGreyhound Lines has abandoned its decades-old terminal on Person Street in downtown Fayetteville after deciding to consolidate its service at the new FAST Transit Center.

A wing of the transit center, which will accommodate Greyhound, was left vacant until completion of the main building. The city of Fayetteville is saving about $250,000 by delaying construction of the interior of that wing.

It was not part of the $12,071,138 original building project awarded to Construction Systems, Inc. of Fayetteville.

“Greyhound did not decide to be part of the new center until after the construction contract with CSI was awarded,” said Transit Director Randy Hume. “We attempted to add the Greyhound renovation work to the CSI contract, but their proposal for the change order was too costly.”

The Construction Systems, Inc. proposal was $551,405, and the city decided to seek separate bids.

Greyhound’s decision to lease space at the transit center was worth waiting for. Bids for finishing the Greyhound wing were received in January. A contract was awarded to Hayes, Inc. of Fayetteville for $317,000, representing a savings of $234,405.

Hume said completion of the interior of the wing is underway and should be completed in 90 days.

Greyhound Lines is an intercity bus common carrier serving more than 3,800 destinations across North America. It has been designated six bus bays for the use of its coaches and those of its subsidiaries.

Greyhound won’t begin making its full monthly lease payments until the renovations are finished in mid-June. But the city will still receive the same number of rental payments over the 10-year lease period. Beginning in July, Greyhound will pay the city $5,365 per month for the first five years. The lease payment will go up by 5 percent per year thereafter, Hume said.

Greyhound’s temporary ticket counter is in the main lobby near the Franklin Street main entrance of the transit center. That space will eventually be dedicated to food service. A request for proposals seeks responses from business people who may be interested in operating a small restaurant.

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City removes bridge at Cross Creek Park

05news digest 3 28Fayetteville’s Cross Creek Park, sometimes called Lafayette Park, off Green Street downtown, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. For 1 1/2 years, the ruins of what was a beautiful walkway from Green Street across Cross Creek to the Marquis de Lafayette statue have gone unattended by the city. Parks and Recreation director Michael Gibson said Federal Emergency Management Agency has confirmed that the damage qualified for $250,000 in federal reimbursement.

Workers recently removed the bridge. Fencing was also removed, exposing park visitors to an unprotected, steep, 20-foot creek bank. “Parks and Recreation staff will be putting up a barrier at this location,” said city spokesman Nathan Walls.

Firefighters to administer Naloxone

Until recently, Fayetteville Fire Chief Ben Major opposed equipping fire engines with naloxone, commonly sold under the brand name Narcan. It is a nasal-mist medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose. Brian Pearce, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center emergency medical service director, agreed that firefighter safety was a primary consideration. Pearce administers regulations of the county medical director and said the final decision was the fire chief’s.

All city firefighters are trained EMTs.

“The Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department wants to help to mitigate and reduce opioid overdoses in our community,” Major said. “Our first responders assist with a wide range of emergency response, and we are happy to use naloxone as another tool to help save lives.” He added that supplies and equipment were evaluated in December and were purchased earlier this year, saying, “Departmentwide training began this month.”

The Fayetteville Police Department was among the first law enforcement agencies in the state to issue naloxone to patrol officers. The department says nearly 200 lives have been saved since then.

The VA names new Fayetteville director

The Department of Veterans Affairs has named retired Army Col. James Laterza the new director of the Fayetteville VA Medical Center. He succeeds Elizabeth Goolsby, who retired last year. Laterza will oversee delivery of health care services to nearly 74,000 veterans in a 19-county area of southeastern North Carolina. The medical center specializes in general medicine, surgery and mental health. It also operates 10 community clinics and the new quarter-billion-dollar health care center on Raeford Road.

Laterza’s most recent appointment before retiring from the U.S. Army was commander of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

“He has more than two decades of health care experience with The United States Army, and his passion to serve our veterans is unmatched,” said DeAnne Seekins, Mid-Atlantic Health Care network director.

Updating the Homeless Initiative Program

Cumberland County Community Development and City of Fayetteville Economic and Community Development departments are seeking proposals for sponsorship of services for the Fayetteville/ Cumberland County Homeless Initiative Program.

The program provides support that addresses gaps in housing and supportive services for homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless.

City and county community development departments hope to contract with an applicant that demonstrates the capacity and performance record to provide supportive services to homeless families. The maximum local funding amount available for services is $200,000. It would target homeless families lacking stable housing. The deadline to receive proposals is 4 p.m., Friday, April 6.

Lafayette Society adoption

The Lafayette Society of Fayetteville has adopted the Noncommissioned Officer Academy of the JFK Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg. The society developed a medallion (Medaille de Lafayette) to honor the city’s namesake. It is awarded to the NCO Academy noncommissioned officer selected by his peers as embodying the best example of “patriotism, generosity and leadership.”

SFC Jacob Foxen received the medallion during the graduation ceremony this month for 22 students in the most recent class.

The Lafayette Society was founded by the late Martha Duell in 1981 with the goal of raising funds for a statue of the Revolutionary War figure to be erected in Cross Creek Park. The statue was dedicated in 1983 as part of Fayetteville’s bicentennial celebration.

Local water treatment issues

Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission says its system “did not meet the treatment technique requirements at our water treatment plant on January 6, 2018.”

Low water pressure resulted from numerous water main breaks during the coldest eight-day period this past winter. Local temperatures were well below freezing during the week. A boil water advisory was in effect during the period. Tests taken at the time did not indicate the presence of bacteria in the water. N.C. state law required that PWC advise the public of the information.

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