At the June 3, 2024 budget work session, Mr. Gibson (Director of Parks & Rec) said there was a misunderstanding and ๐™ฃ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™š๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ก๐™™ ๐™—๐™š ๐™˜๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ฃ . This clip starts at 2:18:10 BUT please listen to all of it to be a better informed citizen. Councilmember Hondros requested the budget language be changed to reflect what was said by Mr. Gibson so that when City Council voted they would be voting on the stated intent, not trees being cut down. Thank you for your support of this petition. I believe that it was our voices on social media, in-person & online petitions, and the support of several council members about how important our trees are to downtown. were what kept what happened to the Anderson Street tress from happening again. You all showed up for downtown and I love you for it. Thank YOU and thanks to City Council for listening to our concern and ensuring that the language in the budget matches the stated intent. See you downtown. - ๐™ˆ๐™ค๐™ก๐™ก๐™ฎ
Molly Arnold
Owner, Rude Awakening Coffee House & Shop Cursive
The large trees in our downtown add shade, ambiance, and beauty. We have a tree study to keep them healthy and alive for several more generations. Instead, our city government wants to spend $50,000 to cut them down. These trees are not just part of our landscape; they are part of our community's heritage and well-being. Cutting them down would be a loss for everyone who enjoys the unique character of downtown Fayetteville. Please join me in urging the City Council to reconsider this decision and preserve these beautiful trees for future generations. Sign this petition to save the Hay Street trees!
Molly Arnold
Owner, Rude Awakening Coffee House & Shop Cursive

A Fight For Our Trees

Sometime around 2003-ish, I had a day job and also was the night Shift at Rude Awakening coffee house. In those days we closed at midnight Mon-Sat. We had heard rumors that the city wanted to cut down the trees on Hay Street. Being two Downtown Alliance activists, Greg Hathaway and I had talked about what steps to take if the rumors were true. One was starting a citizens’ petition and the other was making some buttons. It was the era of wearing your causes on pinbacks. Way before online graphics to grab and canva-type products we had CDโ€™s with 100,000 clipart images. So this button was created and we had about 100 made just in case.

One evening around 6:00 pm, I was working at Rude and had a few customers inside and some sitting outside, and I stopped a couple of downtown neighbors (Iโ€™ll name them if they chose to be outed as heroes). They had come from city hall and had heard there would be a council vote at that nightโ€™s meeting to cut down the trees on Hay Street. So I ushered the customers inside out, put a sign on the door โ€œGone to Fight City Hall, Be Back As Soon As Possible, left chairs and tables outside, locked the doors, and walked down the street with my bag of buttons.

The meeting hadnโ€™t started yet and it happened that there was a Boy Scout Troop there that was going to be recognized. I signed up to speak (the good old days when you were able to react to last-minute shenanigans). I went around to each of the scouts, gave them a button, and asked them to please put it on. And they did. I walked up front and gave a button to each council member.

I spoke about the trees adding so much to our streetscape, and how strongly the citizens of Fayetteville felt about not cutting them down evidenced by the amount of petition signatures gathered in just a few days. Not everyone was swayed. One councilman offered to buy the gas for the chainsaws out of his pocket.

In the end, city staff and council listened to the citizens, and the trees were saved.

In subsequent years the trees and their health and habitat are mentioned. The Alliance proposed a plan of 2-3 trees being replaced each year to allow for staggered removal if they were actually ever deemed by an arborist as having to be removed. The arborist felt they could be saved.

In 2020 a tree committee I sat on resulted in a great plan to maintain the trees, keeping them healthy enough to last several more generations. The expertise of Charlie Allen of Green Biz and his work to create a way to maintain our green space with healthy trees was mostly ignored due to the cost of the planโ€™s implementation and upkeep.

Now about 20 years after keeping them from being cut down, this yearโ€™s proposed budget is $50,000 to cut down the trees. Monday night at city hall I spoke in opposition. New small trees planted now will take 30 years to look as beautiful and have the canopy we currently have. There is a viable plan to keep them healthy and that should be where we direct funds in the budget.