This article was written by Christopher Dunn for Fayette-News

The vision for Fayetteville’s new city center is coming into focus with the unveiling of designs for the new city hall and adjoining park space at Thursday night’s council meeting.

Culminating a design process of six to eight months working with architects at Goodwyn Mills Cawood, City Manager Ray Gibson presented the plans. Situated on 10 acres purchased from the Board of Education in 2018, the completed project will represent a new home built specifically for the City of Fayetteville, which has previously used repurposed buildings, like old school houses, for government offices.

Park construction is expected to kick off in mid-October and last roughly 205 days with an end goal of August 2020. City hall work should break ground in November and last roughly 275 days with an end goal of December 2020.

The construction cost, with New South Construction as the main contractor, is estimated at $18.9 million, with the total project cost at roughly $23 million.

A video, which is available on the city’s website, laid out the the plans for the space, along with architectural drawings. A two-level City Hall opens onto a plaza with space for light exercising. A pedestrian pathway with outdoor classroom space connects to a stream amenity that leads to a park. The park features seating, picnic space, bathrooms, and a large splash pad and playground for children of all ages and abilities. There will be a large grand lawn with a performance stage, and nearby will be a dog park with separate sections for large and small dogs. Walking paths and a picnic pavilion adorn a stormwater pond.

Gibson noted that the project will no longer need the discussed roundabout on county library property, but it will still connect to the library. The old Board of Ed. bus barn and gymnasium will be renovated with an eye towards becoming a mix of office and retail space. He said no potential users have been identified yet.

Council Member Scott Stacy lauded the work of city staff and consultants in bringing the vision to life.

“This is outstanding work,” said Stacy. “This is team effort. This is evidence of a very good team working together.”

Mayor Ed Johnson, who was a part of the planning process from the start with Council Member Rich Hoffman, called it an exciting culmination.

“We think that the process has really given us a great end result,” said Johnson.