Fayetteville voters will head to the ballot box Nov. 12 to decide whether to approve a $10 million bond issue to fund part of the Walton Arts Center (WAC) expansion project and construction of a regional park that will include a few baseball fields.
The current 2 percent hotel, motel and restaurant tax pays for the creation of the Fayetteville Town Center and funds local parks. Fayetteville voters in 1997 approved a bond to build the Town Center, which will be paid off fully by 2015 if voters reject the bonds on the ballot in November. If voters approve the new bond issue, the tax money that was set to finish paying for the Town Center bond will also be allocated to the two multimillion dollar projects.
"This election is simply to give authorization for the city to use that money from the hotel, motel, restaurant (HMR) tax to pay for that," said Marilyn Heifner, executive director for the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission.
It will be a 25- year bond issue that won't increase taxes, but will require the city to pay off the debt for the new bonds, if passed.
The breakdown of the funds will be: $6.9 million to the WAC, $3.5 million to the Regional Park and $1.5 to finish paying the Town Center bond.
The WAC is planning a 30,000 square-foot expansion, which includes additional backstage support facilities, as well as more storage and production space.
The regional park will have sports fields (Soccer, Baseball, Softball), trails, playgrounds, courts (Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball) and pavilions, although the $3.5 million from the bonds would only partially fund the larger project, which is expected to cost around $20 million.
Heifner said the two projects will boost tourism in Fayetteville.
"When we bring tourism into town for those baseball, softball and soccer tournaments, they in turn leave their money with us," Heifner said.
Tim McFarland thinks this funding is needed.
"I think they are doing it with all the right reasons and I support those who put those policies in place so I'm for it," McFarland said.
Matt Faries said parking is a hassle in the Dickson St. area and said he hopes that's in the plans of the WAC expansion.
"As long as our city planners take that into consideration with this new construction, I don't really see a problem with it," Faries said.
Faries said he wants to study the bond issue a little more.
"Definitely worth looking into and researching a little more, getting the facts straight," Faries said.
If the bond issue doesn't pass, the city plans to pay off the debt it took on to build the Town Center by 2015. If it passes, the debt from these projects would be paid off over the next 25 years.