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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication

May 15, 2001 -- No. 245

Local angles: Fayetteville, Rockingham, Charlotte

Tar Heel Bus Tour faculty to explore impact of military, NASCAR, state's largest city, Tuesday, May 22

Learning about economic development goals for Fayetteville will be among educational experiences today for 32 new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the 2001 Tar Heel Bus Tour. They will visit the Army's Airborne and Special Operations Museum, where they will learn about the Greater Fayetteville Futures campaign and hear results of a UNC history professor's new research about the impact of the military on American society, a study centered in Fayetteville. Later, in Rockingham, they will round the North Carolina Speedway in a pace car and learn about the cultural and economic significance of stock car racing in the state. The faculty members will end their day with dinner at the Tryon Visual Arts Center in Charlotte, where local leaders Harvey Gantt, Hugh McColl and Rolfe Neill will discuss the city's growth and its future.

Tour purpose:

The 1,100-mile tour’s 16 stops Monday (May 21) through Friday (May 25) are designed to teach new faculty about North Carolina’s people, geography, economy, culture, history, schools and health and social issues. The privately funded tour, conducted annually since 1997, aims to help new faculty better understand the cities, towns and rural areas where 82 percent of Carolina undergraduates grow up. They also learn what types of faculty research and public service are needed to help the state, and they see UNC outreach projects already under way.

Tuesday’s Carolina connections: Cumberland County (Fayetteville) is home to 470 Carolina students and 1,904 UNC alumni; Richmond County (Rockingham), to 50 Carolina students and 301 alumni; Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), to 1,837 students and 12,833 alumni. UNC was chartered in Fayetteville in 1789, as the state legislature met there before moving to Raleigh in 1794.

Tuesday’s schedule, highlights:

9:15-11 a.m. Airborne and Special Operations Museum, Bragg Boulevard and Hay Street, Fayetteville, 910-483-3003

The Army's Fort Bragg employs 48,000 soldiers and civilians, and Pope Air Force Base nearby employs 5,562. Together, they form one of the world's largest military complexes. Because military installations don't pay property taxes, localities housing them struggle to provide services without adequate revenue. How to meet these challenges, and the fort's role in helping the city, will be topics of talks by local leader Anthony Chavonne of Fayetteville Publishing Co. (a UNC alumnus), Col. Robert Derrick of Fort Bragg and Leslie Stewart of the Office of Economic Development at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, director of the Greater Fayetteville Futures campaign.

Media note: Because many artifacts in the museum cannot hold up under bright lights, the museum asks that no flash photos be taken. But news photographers may ask if they wish to take limited photos or video.

Additional UNC involvement in Fayetteville includes a project by city and regional planning professor Dr. Emil Malizia to find ways to boost funding for commercial redevelopment in the inner city; a Southern Oral History Program effort to interview people in counties where military bases have brought rapid change; and a UNC Institute of Government-led planning process for Cumberland County. UNC anthropology professor Dr. Catherine Lutz will highlight results of her ethnographic and historical research in Fayetteville since 1994, to be presented in her book "Homefront," due later this year.

2-4 p.m. North Carolina Speedway, 2152 N. U.S. Highway 1, Rockingham, 910-582-2861

This stop highlights the state's $11.9 billion (2000) tourism industry and a sport born in the Southeast. The visiting faculty will take laps in a pace car and hear about the impact of racing on North Carolina from the speedway's Chris Browning and Kristi King, a 1994 UNC graduate.

7 p.m. Tryon Visual Arts Center, 712 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, 704-332-5535

The state's largest metropolitan area is one of the nation's leading financial centers and well known for innovative uptown rehabilitation efforts -- of which the center was part. Gantt, McColl and Neill, leaders in the transformation, will look at new issues facing Charlotte, including affordable housing needs and, said one survey, a low degree of interracial trust.

Gantt, an architect, has focused on center city development and affordable housing as a city council member, the city's first black mayor and on other local boards. McColl and Neill are UNC alumni, and UNC's business school building is named for McColl. The retired banker has donated a professorship and other gifts to the university, and he was national co-chair of its bicentennial fund-raising campaign. Neill retired in 1997 after 22 years as publisher of The Charlotte Observer, ending a 40-year journalism career. As a Carolina student, he edited The Daily Tar Heel. The university recognized him with a distinguished alumnus award in 1986, and he was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame, housed at UNC, in 1988.

Carolina outreach projects in Charlotte include research assistance with a program on inner-city workforce development, aid to small businesses and the Kenan Institute Charlotte, whose projects include training and development for minority business owners.

The Tar Heel Bus Tour began Monday (May 21) with tobacco and hog farm visits and a boat ride to observe a UNC-assisted water-quality project on the Neuse River. Stops later this week will include tours of a textile mill in Mount Holly, a Smart Growth development in Huntersville, a rural health clinic in Marshall and a UNC program in Warrensville using traditional music to teach fourth-grade subjects.

Tour Web site:

Interviews: Tour leader Mike Smith, director of UNC's Institute of Government, and participants are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at stops or by cell phone. Media access will be unrestricted except where otherwise noted. During the tour, call L.J. Toler of UNC News Services at 919-614-5436 with questions about coverage. News Services in Chapel Hill at 919-962-2091 can share background on UNC's connections to North Carolina. Before the tour, contact Toler at 919-962-8589.


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