Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lauren Hawkins asks City Council to protect neighborhood and Fayetteville National Cemetery

Dear members of the Fayetteville City Council:

I am a homeowner on the south side of Fayetteville — a field away from Pinnacle Foods, the train track, a neighborhood vest-pocket park and with the sale barn.

The blocks that separate me from the sale barn are mostly in the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The cemetery is one of only a few hundred across the country. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and now recognized as a National Shrine.

Many homes in this neighborhood were here when the sale barn was built. The cemetery was. My house was. Two close neighbor's houses were, though one was moved about 200 feet east by mules about the time sale barn was built. A house or two up the road were here to see the Butterfield stagecoach deliver mail. The rest of the neighborhood has grown up with the sale barn as its neighbor.

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

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

The sale barn has met a few battles as Fayetteville grew up around it, I gather. Established use and preservation of a way of life have won its favor many a time.

The only thing that makes a bit of sense is to rezone the whole area to neighborhood conservation. Period.

The proposal to rezone the parcel to allow such things as rent-by-the-room student apartments is simply incompatible with the surroundings. We owe our veterans' final resting place as much.

Present estimates of the Fayetteville National Cemetery are for capacity to meet demand for the next decade. Will we have our troops out of harm's way by then?

I urge the Fayetteville City Council to be good stewards and take the opportunity to rezone to neighborhood conservation and nothing less.

Lauren Hawkins

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