Fayetteville moves to renovate parks and recreation centers: But is it enough to attract new business?

This entry was contributed by on March 9th, 2016 at 12:00 pm and is filed under , .
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On March 15th the city of Fayetteville votes on the Parks and Recreation Bond Referendum. The referendum is for a 35 million dollar bond and intended to improve the city’s infrastructure by renovating recreation facilities across the city.

The city says that Fayetteville is falling behind other cities because there is not enough money in their yearly budget to maintain and improve the existing facilities.

The Chamber of Commerce conducted a study that concluded, “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.”

The city plans to pay for this bond by increasing property taxes. The city believes if they invest in parks and recreation, this would attract new business, which would provide new jobs and increase the tax base, which would decrease the tax burden on the citizens of Fayetteville.

What do new parks have to do with new business? Is that really something that a business owner would weigh when making a business decision?

The business owners that I have spoken with, have all agreed that taxes and regulations are among the top considerations and rounding out those considerations is a lower crime rate.

Property taxes were raised three cents to hire 47 new police officers out of the 57 Police Chief Harold Medlock asked for. Chief Medlock came to Fayetteville in 2013 and restructured the police department and has been successful in reducing crime.

So why not give him what he asked for so he can keep being as effective as possible? Lower crime rates have the bigger impact on the image of Fayetteville and could be very attractive to business owners.

Ok, if you must renovate parks and the city and its citizens all agree, why use the property tax? Why not the sales tax? Increasing property tax would curb businesses, families, and entrepreneurs to refrain from buying property in the city to begin with. Decreasing population within city limits will not be effective in broadening the tax base.

When there are lesser taxes in the neighboring communities, won’t this cause the businesses that the city aims to attract to set up shop in Hope Mills, or Spring Lake? This way they can be close enough to fully take advantage of these nice parks without actually having to pay for them. If they care at all about them.

Fayetteville is struggling for that magic sauce that will make business come back, but are they deepening the problem?

2 Responses to “Fayetteville moves to renovate parks and recreation centers: But is it enough to attract new business?”

  1. John Stephens

    Good arguments about the challenges of attracting businesses, the sense of safety, and tax burdens. Are you suggesting that maybe the sales tax is a better way to pay back the bond, if it passes? This income to the town government would come from residents, businesses and visitors because of purchases people make.
    A second query: have you seen some businesses choosing to go to a smaller neighboring town? I see your point about still being able to benefit from Fayetteville parks and other services.

    Reply
  2. Dan Bagley

    Are they deepening the problem… No. They are actually not taking the issue at hand far enough…
    For smaller municipalities, the community center is often one of the most needed institutional assets, yet often undervalued social/physical meeting hubs for a city. They are low cost to patrons, provide space, and are a safe place for for all ages to go have fun, or serious neighborhood meetings. The community center serves SO many purposes… staying physically active, numerous programs for youth and adults, space for rentals, and the list can go on and on… I personally feel parks and recreation departments, as well as municipalities in general, need to do a better job of highlighting all the amazing assets they bring to the communities. By highlighting how important they are and how much they are needed, by doing this, when asking for 3, 5 or even 10 cents to be added to property taxes wont rub people the wrong way (well, most patrons).

    To keep business happy, you need to have a strong parks and recreation department… However, to attract new businesses in a smaller city , I feel you need to be looking at more cutting edge and unique user opportunities within the city. Private / public opportunities are really amazing ways to stretch dollars and bring new business in. What if you had campuses where there is big city complex with a community center, athletic fields, open turn-key office suites to be rented, Free WIFI, co-working spaces for the public to meet and brainstorm ideas, large conference rooms, Multi-purpose room for classes, workshops, and events, and a cafe space with a full-service kitchen that can be used by all, or even rented by businesses when not being used. I would love to be a part of something like that!
    For a smaller cities to attract companies, but in my opinion more importantly, grow the talent that is already in the city via the patrons who already live there. Design an environment that will empower others to create purpose-driven businesses, support by the community from the community, and gain access to flexible, affordable office space / community centers.
    Great Topic!

    Reply

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