It’s no accident that you and I have chosen to live in Fayetteville. It’s a wonderful place, as attested by another Top 10 Best Places to Live ranking by US News & World Report, being named the best place to live in the Southeast Conference and the 100,000 of us who voted with our feet to move to or remain residents of this dynamic, creative community.

Our reasons may be as diverse as our population, but I propose that it’s the quality of life we experience that makes Fayetteville such a desirable place, and it’s the numerous amenities available that lift our community into the national rankings.

The foundations of a quality community are not sexy, but they’re critical. Things like abundant clean water, well maintained infrastructure, and public safety are the starting point. It was clean water, trash collection, roads, and public transit that enabled Paris, London, New York, and Rome to rise above disease and their neighbors to become world class cities.
But Fayetteville’s wonder goes well beyond the basics. Quality schools, access to a regional airport and regional hospital, a world class Public Library, a beautiful natural environment with tree covered hills, well maintained parks with a myriad of available programs, and family owned restaurants, shops, businesses, and brew pubs that appeal to business owners and residents alike. Add in one of the fastest growing land grant universities in the nation and a performing arts scene which delivers Broadway caliber talent to patrons and it becomes evident why we are the envy of the state.

We’ve got more than 50 miles of paved trails for walking, jogging and cycling, the nations best mountain biking trails and international cycle cross course in Centennial Park, kayaking on Lake Fayetteville, a municipal airport, the best live music scene between Memphis, Kansas City, Austin, and New Orleans, the Walton Arts Center, TheatreSquared, Tin Roof, and George’s Majestic Lounge – the oldest continuously operating live music venue in the state, just to name a few entertainment options in addition to free concerts in Gulley Park, and the Ramble, and who could forget that Razorback athletics are on our doorstep. Woo Pig!

We also have the luxury of political stability, a highly participative, well educated and engaged citizenry, a dynamic economy fueled by research, small business start-ups, and tourism which bring employment opportunities and outside dollars to our city.

All of the above is true and valid and contributes to making Fayetteville special, but it is the people in and of this place that make our community what it is. Hospitality is in our DNA and inclusivity is our super power. People come here for jobs or an education, but they stay because of an innate sense of belonging. It is the big hearted, welcoming nature of our residents that hooks us and makes us tell others about our experiences here.

Being popular is a highly desirable position, but it requires us to be thoughtful about our growth. Our challenge in a nutshell is to grow strategically, and sustainably, in a manner that recognizes context and preserves our sense of place and enhances our quality of life. After managing the basics of municipal governance, the highest purpose of the City Council is to maintain, and if possible, enhance the quality of life in our beloved community. I can think of no better assignment to undertake for this place we love.