Fayetteville woman fights for Rowan Park

March 13, 2008 7:26:40 PM PDT
A Fayetteville woman is taking on city hall. Mary Kay Hennessey doesn't like a plan that calls for building condos and townhouses in a popular downtown park.

The city says the plan is part of a new downtown gateway to the city.

Ask anyone in Fayetteville and they will tell you something about Rowan Park.

"Everybody comes here for the picnics," Fayetteville resident Ronald Lambert said. "All the churches are dedicated to this park. And it's just a historical landmark I think should stay here."

Hennessey is fighting the city's plan to redevelop all but about 5 acres of Rowan Park.

"This park has got an unique shape," she said. "It's not like any place in Fayetteville. There are so many memories wrapped up in this park. People rolling down the hills. Somebody first saw the Embers here."

Hennessey has been on a one-woman crusade to save the park. The plan calls for the development of condos and townhouses.

"I don't think we need housing in the park," she said. "There are plenty of places to put housing and there's not place to put more trees like this."

Rowan Park is a natural park with plenty of rolling hills. It even has a man made big blue whale that will remain.

Fayetteville administrators say proposed changes at Rowan Park are part of the creation of a new downtown gateway city. The overall plan includes a restaurant and large commercial office building.

The city says development of several new downtown parks, including a nearby state veteran's park will keep plenty of green spaces available.

City leaders say adding homes to the park actually makes it safer by having more eyes on the street. The city council is set to vote on the project's final plan Monday night.


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