Fayetteville saw a “phenomenal year” in 2015 and much is planned for 2016 Mayor Lioneld Jordan told the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee Friday (Feb. 5).
He confirmed during a conversation with Talk Business & Politics that he plans to run for re-election. He plans to make a formal announcement after the March 1 primaries. Perhaps the biggest news from 2015 was that sales tax revenue saw its biggest increase in 10 years at 7.3%.
“That’s the biggest since the Pinnacle Hills Promenade (in Rogers) was built,” Jordan said.
When he entered the office in 2008, the recession pushed sales tax growth to a -5% for the first two years. Jordan continued to share other signs of economic recovery and growth: 700 building permits and 767 new business permits issued.
“That’s more than two businesses a day coming into this city,” he said.
He also spoke of the high level of citizen participation in regards to volunteer hours. Approximately 35,000 people volunteered about 681,00 hours in 2015.
“That tells me that people are really buying into what we’re doing here in Fayetteville” Jordan said.
Also mentioned were the physical infrastructure improvements that started in 2014 and continued in 2015 including the Spring Street Parking Deck, the Fayetteville Flyover, Gulley Park master plan, and the ongoing construction of the new Fayetteville Regional Park. The new park will be next to the Mt. Kessler improvements, which are about 400 acres of trails and wooded area. Phase 1, which is about 200 acres, is expected to be complete in 2016 and will include four baseball fields, six soccer fields, and a large open space for public use. The total cost of Phase 1 according to city records is $11 million.
The city will also make $4.5 million in digital upgrades including upgrading their core financial system, which is about 20 years old, Jordan said.
“Our citizens demand to have online interaction with their city,” he said.
Jordan hopes in 2016 to have a plan that will help bring more affordable broadband for everyone in the city. That will be a separate project than the other digital upgrades and is part of Fayetteville’s involvement with the Next Century Cities program.
The city also made 19 safety personnel positions available that are in the process of being hired this year. This is split between the fire and police departments. This was funded with a discretionary millage voted on by the City Council.
Other 2016 plans mentioned by Jordan include:
• $1 million restoration to Fayetteville’s two historical bridges,
• Finishing the Fayetteville Regional Park Phase 1,
• Developing a five-year economic plan,
• Road improvements to College Avenue between Maple and North,
• Improvements to Gulley Park, and
• Widening Rupple Road to four lanes from Wedington to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said 2015 “was an exciting year” in Fayetteville.
“Everyone needs to cinch up their seatbelt and hold on tight,” he said about the future.
Fayetteville is growing an average of a new person every six hours, he said. That’s exciting, but also makes it highly necessary to balance the need to be welcoming but also continue to provide the same level of services for everyone.