City leaders, builders and community members broke ground today on the new Fayetteville City Hall & City Center Park, which represents a milestone along the path to creating a more vibrant and engaging downtown space for the whole community to enjoy.
A two-acre tract fronting West Stonewall Avenue will be home to a new, two-story City Hall building that will be set within a walkable, inviting plaza offering spaces for light exercise and quiet reflection. Beyond that, a meandering walking path and outdoor classroom lead down a gentle slope to City Center Park.
Amenities lined up for the eight-acre park space include a concrete stream, children’s splash pad and playground, walk-around pond, picnic pavilion, a grand lawn with performance facilities, dog park, and will also incorporate renovations of two existing structures, the historic Fayette County High School Gymnasium and the industrial-looking Bus Barn.
Overlooking the southern edge of the park space will be the new Walton Communities mixed-use development, which is expected to begin construction in the spring. New public streets and parking areas will tie in with these new and existing developments, including the adjacent Fayette County Administrative Complex and Fayette County Public Library.
“This is a great day for Fayetteville,” said City Manager Ray Gibson. “The vision to build this new City Hall and park space began about four years ago as the City leadership team, Mayor Johnson, and our City Council members discussed strategies to make sure the City of Fayetteville was well prepared for the growth happening and anticipated in the local area.
“One key element we all agreed needed to be addressed was our current City Hall building, which was originally a school house many decades ago,” Gibson continued. “It has served the community well over the quarter of a century it has been used as a city hall building, but we decided to look at the feasibility of constructing a purpose-built facility to better accommodate City staff, offer more engaging spaces for the public to enjoy, and establish a new City Center to give our downtown more of a sense of place.”
Throughout those years of researching and planning, members of the public were invited to the discussion table and to help shape the course of things to come.
“We listened to what our citizens had to say about building an environment in our downtown district where they could bring their families, meet with other residents, and more openly engage their City government,” Gibson said.
According to Downtown Development Director Brian Wismer, demolition of the Board of Education administrative buildings will commence in the coming weeks, and construction of the new City Hall building and park space should follow shortly after. Construction of the entire, 10-acre development is expected to be completed by late 2020 or early 2021, depending on the weather.