Golden LEAF Awards $965,830 for Economic Development Infrastructure Project at Fayetteville Regional Airport

Dec 29, 2021 | Press Releases

December 21, 2021
Contact: Maarja Hightower, Director of Communications
Phone: 910-500-6405


Golden LEAF Awards $965,830 for Economic Development Infrastructure Project at Fayetteville Regional Airport


FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The City of Fayetteville has been awarded $965,830 from the Golden LEAF Foundation. FCEDC, the City, and the Fayetteville Public Works Commission (PWC) will use these funds to replace a sewer lift station, construct a force main, and conduct due diligence activities for 172.13 acres of developable property located at the Airport.

At their December 2021 meeting, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded a grand total of $4,910,962 in funds for the first round of the new SITE Program. In the SITE Program – Development category, the Board awarded $4,794,962 in funding for six projects that will provide public infrastructure and, for publicly owned sites, clearing and rough grading, to benefit sites that have completed the due diligence necessary to demonstrate that the site is suitable for development.

City Manager Doug Hewett stated that the opportunities for development at the Airport can be leveraged to bring in new companies and support expansion of existing industry, specifically within aerospace, aviation, and defense industry sectors. “To capture these opportunities, getting sites ready for development is paramount. Replacing the lift station will get us one step closer to being able to expand this area, creating new jobs for Fayetteville and Cumberland County,” Hewett said.

The Fayetteville Airport is a strong economic engine serving an average of 460,000 passengers a year and accounts for 4,575 jobs, with an economic impact of $790 million. There are currently four site development opportunities at the Airport totaling 130 developable acres. FCEDC is working with the Airport, City of Fayetteville, and Cumberland County to create an Airport Business Corridor that addresses zoning, land use, infrastructure, site development, and streetscape.

“The Airport is an economic powerhouse for Fayetteville and Cumberland County. We are excited to further maximize the commercial potential of the Airport site by creating the Airport Business Corridor,” said Robert Van Geons, CEcD, FCEDC President & CEO. “By investing in site development, Fayetteville and Cumberland County will be more competitive for economic development projects, which has a ripple effect across our community.”

Fayetteville’s Airport Director, Dr. Toney Coleman, shared: “Receipt of the Golden LEAF grant to replace PWC’s Lift Station #29 directly links to infrastructure improvements identified in Fayetteville Regional Airport’s Master Plan. With this upgrade in equipment, PWC will be able to provide services to airport areas previously unserved due to capacity constraints. On behalf of City and Airport Management, I send a sincere thank you to all involved in helping us secure this award.”

“Utility infrastructure upgrades and expanding utility systems are essential to a community’s growth. Funding these projects are a challenge not just for Fayetteville, but across our nation.  The Golden LEAF award is a win for Fayetteville. It helps move an important project forward, and PWC is excited to be part of this work,” said Elaina Ball, CEO/General Manager, PWC.

“The need for industrial sites was a gap identified in our recent strategic planning process,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “The Golden LEAF Board is excited to provide funding through the SITE Program to the City of Fayetteville. This funding will provide needed infrastructure at the Fayetteville Regional Airport site for increased economic development opportunities.”

ABOUT FCEDC: The Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private partnership designed to enhance job growth and prosperity in the region by attracting new industry and growing and retaining existing industry. FCEDC works daily to help strengthen our economy and diversify our community tax base. Learn more at

About Golden LEAF: The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation. For more information about Golden LEAF and its programs, visit