Jordan says Fayetteville must balance progress and preservation in state of the city address

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan (Flyer photo)

During his annual state of the city address on Tuesday, Mayor Lioneld Jordan said in a city like Fayetteville, it’s important to strike a balance between progress and preservation.

“The rapid growth of our city creates both a desire to preserve what we love and a hunger to explore new possibilities,” said Jordan. “Sometimes we are torn between preserving what feels familiar and embracing a new and progressive approach, but I believe we can do both if we remember to balance our priorities and focus on delivering the best outcomes for our community.”

Jordan highlighted several achievements from last year, including a $25 million Safe Streets for All grant the city received last month for safety improvements, which he said is the largest single transportation grant he’s seen during his time as an elected official.

Total taxable sales in Fayetteville reached more than $3.3 billion in 2023, which is an increase of $100 million over the previous year, he said. The city also added 1,500 new jobs and issued more than $500 million in building permits that included over 700 single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, according to Jordan.

Those strong results, he said, should continue with the implementation of a new economic vitality master
plan that’s coming soon.

Jordan said public safety remains a priority, and although the demand for police and fire services has grown with the city’s population, violent crime, property crime and total crime statistics were down compared to the past few years.

The completion of the parks system master plan is proof of Fayetteville’s commitment to parks and recreation, Jordan said, citing progress on multiple park projects.

“We made great progress on planning for Bryce Davis, Underwood and Walker parks last year, and we’ll see construction on all three parks happening this year,” Jordan said. “Work on Wilson Park is complete, and Gulley Park should be done later this year.”

He also mentioned the upcoming improvements to Combs Park, which will be Fayetteville’s first river access park for water recreation.

Infrastructure improvements are ongoing as part of the most recent bond program, which has so far used about $174 million of the $226 million voters approved in 2019. The $17.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds were also a significant contributor, with allocations to various community service programs, including childcare assistance and workforce training.

Jordan discussed three projects that he said illustrate the vision and drive his administration has for keeping the city “vibrant, thriving and successful,” including the 71B corridor transformation, The Ramble development in downtown, and the city’s climate and energy goals.

Repurposing College Avenue from a state highway to a community-focused corridor, he said, will promote more housing, walkable neighborhoods, small business growth and better transit options.

The Ramble brings with it new public spaces and economic opportunities, he said.

In addressing climate change, Jordan highlighted Fayetteville’s achievements in sustainability, including the LEED Gold certification and Tree City USA designation. Efforts in recycling, composting, and energy efficiency in city buildings were also noted, along with a new climate action plan that’s in the works which focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and implementing nature-based solutions.

“Great projects that support our people, our economy and our environment are not achieved overnight,” Jordan said. “They start with an idea and become real through hard work and dedication.”