Parks Recreation Bond Referendum

Progress, Prosperity, Places To Play

First-Rate Recreation, Desirable Destination

Why now?

Well, to be honest, our city is falling behind other cities of a comparable size in North Carolina.  We have not had a General Obligation bond passed in Fayetteville since 1994, which means it has been well over 20 years since we have worked to invest heavily in improving some aspects of our city infrastructure.

With the exception of the last two years, when Council authorized the funding for two new public swimming pools, the city has made little progress toward improving our recreation facilities for its citizens. This is primarily because we can’t make major improvements to our facilities without major additions to our yearly budget. And as we have continued to add to our population, not continuing to improve our facilities at a comparable rate has only made the situation worse.

The deficit in our Parks and Recreation facilities continues to spiral downward. We had a study conducted in 2006, in which the that comprehensive review of our Parks and Recreation resources identified more than $82 million worth of needed investments - and that was ten years ago.  A $35 million dollar bond would go a long ways toward closing that deficit gap and providing all our citizens with better recreational opportunities across the City.

A need for improvement…

A study completed by the Chamber of Commerce found that the lack of recreational opportunities and low quality of life in Fayetteville is making it hard to bring new business and jobs to the region. So while we understand that people don’t like to pay more taxes, we need to continue to build up our city so we can attract other businesses, which ultimately adds to our tax base and reduces the tax burden on our citizens. So essentially, we have to provide an incentive for those new businesses to come to Fayetteville.

Our City can, will, and must work on improving many aspects of the City if we ever hope to catch up and be competitive with other cities across the state.  And we know that improving our Parks and Recreation facilities is but one piece of the puzzle. We will continue to work on many other aspects simultaneously. 

The good news

We are fortunate that interest rates on bonds have been historically low, but they are now starting to increase. Construction costs have also been low, but are starting to rise with the improving economy. This is why we need to take action now and are offering city residents the opportunity to vote on this important issue. We are making decisions today for 2020 and beyond, to ensure our kids and our grandkids have a city they can be proud of and call home. 

And what does it cost?

A homeowner with a home valued at the City average of $125,800 would pay just $1.42 monthly or $17 annually, for a total of just more than $339 over the entire bond period. And that is only if the City uses all of the $35 million for the bond – if we use less than that amount it will cost less per citizen. 

Other cost examples are listed below:

Tax Rate

Property Value

Monthly Contribution

Annual Contribution

Life-of-Debt Contribution

Monthly Equivalent:






Can of Soup






Snack Bag of Chips






Liter Bottle of Soda






3 Cookies






Large Cup of Coffee

So what’s next?

The voting for this bond referendum takes place on March 15.  We want everyone to vote on this important issue. The City of Fayetteville has a vision for our future . . . a vision of a community on the move. A citywide bond proposal would enable us to build outstanding new facilities to provide City residents throughout the area with affordable, close-to-home options for recreation, sports, and entertainment. These wonderful facilities would make it more attractive and more convenient for people to enjoy an active lifestyle doing things they love. What’s more, world-class venues included in the bond proposal would propel Fayetteville to become a prestigious destination for competitions and other events.

What is a bond referendum?

The ballot measure (hyperlink to example ballot) asks residents if he City can use up to $35 million in General Obligation Bonds to finance investments to the City’s Parks and Recreation system.  General Obligation Debt is the least expensive form of debt; it carries the lowest interest rate, and it is the only form of debt that can be used to build things like parks and ball fields.  A city can’t get a mortgage on a ball field.  The use of debt allows investments to occur sooner and allows those who benefit from the new facilities to help pay for them over time.  The City has the least debt among the ten largest cities in North Carolina by a wide margin. Fayetteville’s current debt is 20% of the average debt of the ten largest cities in North Carolina, with only $8.6 million in outstanding GO Debt

How did we choose the proposed projects to be built?

Projects covered by the bond were strategically selected based on a sound evaluation of what would best serve our community’s recreational needs – and generate new revenue for our county. The Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation Master Plan, first developed in 2006 and overseen by the City Council and County Commissioners, served as the basis for the bond package. In creating this Master Plan, we looked at the rapid growth of Cumberland County, conducted a detailed study of local demographic data and existing recreational resources, and gathered extensive public input.

What types of projects will be provided if this bond is approved by voters?

  • Senior Centers (2)
  • Tennis Center
  • Sports Field Complex
  • Skateboard Parks (2)
  • Cape Fear River Park - Downtown Riverfront
  • Existing Park Improvements (7)
  • Splash Pads (7)  

Parks and Recreation Capital Projects


clarkparkExisting Park Improvements

Upgrade and renovate existing buildings and parks grounds.

Proposed Locations: Brentwood School Park, Clark Park, Dorothy Gilmore Building, Massey Hill Recreation, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Mazarick Park, Seabrook Park
Key Features: Each park is different – picnic shelters, courts, trails, etc..
Estimated Cost: $800,000

splashpadSplash Pads

Seven splash pads located at recreation locations.

Proposed Locations: Cliffdale, E.E. Miller, Gilmore Therapeutic, Kiwanis, Massey Hill, Myers Recreation Centers and 1 location to be determined
Key Features: 2,000 sq. ft. zero depth splash pads, 4-5 water features, using recycled water
    Estimated Cost: $3,000,000

bondriverCape Fear River Park - Downtown Riverfront

An urban riverfront park providing passive river specific recreational activities.

Proposed Location: On the Cape Fear bordered by Person, Broad, and Grove streets.
Key Features: Boardwalk, boat docks, picnic shelters, trails, public open space
Estimated Cost: $5,200,000

skateparkSkateboard Parks

A main in-ground concrete park to serve the entire Fayetteville-Cumberland County region and two mini locations. The skateboard park would offer beginners a safe place to learn as well as provide a challenge for the more advanced boarders. A mini-location offers a safe place to skate, catering to the beginner. 

Proposed Locations: Robeson and Commerce Streets (Novice & Advanced), Westover Recreation Center (Novice)
Key Features: Main – 20,000 sq. ft. of in-ground concrete skate features and supporting facilities. Mini - 5,000 sq. ft. of in-ground concrete skate features. 
Estimated Cost: $1,000,000

Sport Field Complex

A multipurpose sport field complex that will consist of various ballfields designed to adapt to changing interests and needs.

Proposed Location: Fields Road (near Interstate 95 - Exit 49)
Key Features: Two (2) 225’ Youth lighted Softball/Baseball Fields - Two (2) 225’ Youth lighted Softball/Baseball Fields Synthetic Turf - Two (2) 325’ lighted Adult Softball/Baseball Fields - Two (2) 325’ lighted Adult Softball/Baseball Fields Synthetic Turf - Five (5) 225/360 Soccer/Football Fields - Two (2) 225/360 Soccer/Football Fields Synthetic Turf - Three (3) 35x45 picnic shelters with BBQ areas - Two (2) Children’s Playgrounds - 800 Meter Walking Trail - 10,000 sq. foot clubhouse
Estimated Cost: $9,000,000

two-people-playing-tennisTennis Center

A tennis center for players of all ages and ability levels. The Tennis Center will serve all of Fayetteville-Cumberland County in a central location. The Tennis Center will provide a location that is strictly designed for tennis, but could host meetings, special programs or other activities in the pro shop as well.

Proposed Location: Mazarick Park
Key Features: Four (4) clay courts - Thirteen (13) hard courts - Covered changeover stations - One (1) Championship Court with 1,000 spectator seats - a 10,000 sq. ft. pro shop.
Estimated Cost: $6,000,000

seniorsSenior Centers

Full-service facilities, located in Eastern and Western Fayetteville, Offering a variety of multi-use space for Seniors, these facilities are designed to increase the quality of life for visitors. 

Proposed Locations: East Fayetteville and West Fayetteville (locations to be determined)
Key Features: Library, Video Room, Classrooms, Art Studio, Dance Studio, Fitness Space, Meeting Space.
 Estimated Cost: $10,000,000

A Worthy Investment

poolkidsSeveral of the facilities included in this bond proposal would be able to operate with little or no general fund support. However, it is important to note that, as facilities of Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation, membership costs and entrance fees would be affordable for the citizens of our community. Memberships would be offered at different levels (family, couple, senior, etc.), and daily passes would be available for those who come less often or could not afford a yearly membership. In addition, the new facilities would be available for school athletic programs and recreational activities.

These facilities would have the added economic advantage of job creation, and they would provide other opportunities for generating revenue through:

  • Local, regional, state/multi-state tournaments, swim and track meets, and other competitions
  • Rentals for a wide range of public or private events
  • Vendor leases for concessions
  • Lessons and classes
  • Associated fees such as locker rentals and pro shop sales
  • Corporate sponsorships

Attracting competitions and other events would lead to additional revenue for our county through hotels, restaurants, retail locations, and local attractions.

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Staff Contact

For more information about the 2016 Bond Referendum, contact Jessica Legette at (910) 433-1546.