Fayetteville Council OKs Mount Kessler Purchase

The Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to use $1.6 million from the city’s reserve fund to complete the purchase of 376 acres that include Mount Kessler.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan said he has been negotiating to complete the purchase from Chambers Bank for a couple of years. The deal became possible when the Walton Family Foundation offered to contribute $1.5 million and the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association pledged another $300,000, Jordan said.

Jordan said the city has $7.2 million in its reserve fund but he didn’t want to take the entire $3.4 million from the fund. Fayetteville also has $5.7 million in its emergency 60-day fund and about $2 million in its super emergency fund.

The land is adjacent to 200 acres in south Fayetteville on which the city plans to build a regional park. Jordan said the city plans to have some hiking and biking trails built into the mountain in addition to maintaining any already there, but otherwise plan to have as little of an impact on the area as possible.

“It’s totally untouched like it has been for thousands of years,” Jordan said. “I don’t look at this as an expense; I look at it as an investment. I want to leave that area untouched.”

Jordan said the Mount Kessler area will add value to the regional park, which the city plans to use for a host of community sports, including soccer and baseball tournaments. He said the idea was heartily supported by all eight members of the City Council as well as an overflow crowd as Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I didn’t hear one negative comment,” Jordan said. “Everybody was behind it.”