Support neighborhood conservation

I am a homeowner on the south side of Fayetteville — a field away from Pinnacle Foods, the train track, a neighborhood vest pocket park along with the sale barn.
The blocks that separate me from the sale barn is mostly the Fayetteville National Cemetery. It is a shining jewel in the center of the neighborhood with its flag visible from all directions. Created in 1867, the cemetery is one of only a few hundred across the country, on the National Registry of Historic Places and now recognized as a National Shrine.

This neighborhood was here when the sale barn was built. The cemetery was. My house was. My neighbor’s house was, though it was moved by mules from around the corner about that time. A house or two up the road were here to see the Butterfield stagecoach deliver mail. The rest has grown up with the sale barn as its neighbor.

Ours is a quiet single family neighborhood primarily, with a mix of light industrial, agricultural uses, a few duplexes and a 12-unit single-story apartment building with a mix of young families, middle-aged and older folks living here.

This unique neighborhood deserves to be preserved, as new developments attempt to emulate much of what we have.

The sale barn has faced criticism as Fayetteville grew up around it. Established use and preservation of a way of life won it favor many a time.

The only thing that makes a bit of sense is to rezone this parcel and the rest of the area as “neighborhood conservation.” Period.

The proposal for rezoning to allow rent-by-the-room student apartments is simply incompatible with the surroundings. We owe our veterans’ final resting place that respect.

Estimates are that the cemetery has capacity for only the next four years. Will we have our troops out of harms way by then? The sale barn’s 11 acres could add a century.

I ask my neighbors and the community at large to please join me in urging the Fayetteville City Council to be good stewards and take the opportunity to rezone to “neighborhood conservation” and nothing less.

The next council meeting on July 7 at 6 p.m. will address this issue. Please call, write and come out to give a voice to preserving our neighborhood and not allow the way to be paved for a mega-complex to overshadow the National Cemetery.

Lauren Hawkins