Fayetteville leaders to debate $1 million fund for revitalizatio - WRBL

Fayetteville leaders to debate $1 million fund for revitalization

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Fayetteville's city manager has proposed a $1 million fund to help reduce blighted properties in the city.

Ted Voorhees said during a budge work session Wednesday night that the money for the fund would come from a one-time expense to the city's budget -- reducing the city's financial reserves balance by $1 million.

He said it would not be an on-going cost.

"It's a one-time investment to create this revolving fund," Voorhees said.

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Voorhees described the fund as a "war chest" to help eliminate dilapidated properties in key corridors of the city. He said the money could be used on properties that may have interest from a private investor, but where the investment may be too large for someone to take action.

"This proposal is really about creating a financial opportunity for our staff to use to try to find key properties that might be catalyst properties to making a difference in stabilizing or improving a corridor," Voorhees said.

As an example, he said an abandoned gas station or dry cleaner along may present an opportunity for someone to put a new business on the property. However, Voorhees said the cost to clean up the property may deter an investor from buying the property and building a new business there.

He said the fund may be able to help cover the cost of cleaning up the property, and the private investor could take over.

Voorhees said the fund could also be used for run-down homes in residential areas that do not qualify for low-income grants and other government assistance for improvement.

Voorhees said the fund could be an opportunity to improve areas of the city that are just beginning to show blight, or that are in danger of blight.

City Council members had mixed reactions to the proposal. Voorhees promised a full explanation of the idea at a meeting on May 15.

Bryan Miranda who runs and insurance agency on Fort Bragg Road said he likes the idea in general. His business is in an area that could potential qualify for assistance if the new fund is created. His agency is just across the street from a closed nightclub building that is a bit run-down. The building is vacant, and it is just a few doors down from a couple of other struggling storefronts.

If a private investor were interested in the night club building and wanted to put a new business there but ran into an unusually large and unexpected expense, money from the proposed fund could potentially help. Alternatively, money from the fund could be used to improve the nearby storefronts in a combined effort to revitalize a larger area.

"Any time we can bring more industry to this area I think it's fantastic," Miranda said. "The question is how does it get applied, and who's the beneficiary. More than anything else we just don't want to create more problems than what we already have."

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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