Your Name (if you would like it to appear): Stephanie C
Base Location: Fayetteville, NC
How long have you been here? (give years please, ex. 2003-present) 2002-present
What is housing like? On-post? (waiting list, conditions, etc.) Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?
On post housing is getting better. My husband and I lived there before our children were born and for what you give up in your BAH, you can buy a nicer, less “on top” of each other home off post. But it’s not a bad option for people who #1 won’t be here very long #2- are determined they are going to hate it here and make this the worst station in the world for themselves #3-for your first year or so being here while you learn the area and find out where you want to be. Some people love it on post! There is a new off post housing neighborhood run by Picerene in Harnett Co. called Linden Oaks…nice homes-poorly built in my opinion and you’re right on top of one another.
Price of homes depend on what you want. There are many very nice neighborhoods in the area with varying price ranges. Many apartment complexes off post charge way more than what the apartment is worth (in my opinion) simply because they know the BAH rates and they know they’ll get the business. Again, for what you pay for an apartment, you can have a decent home, either renting or buying. But if the apartment life is what you like, there are many nice newer ones in the area to chose from. Popular areas are Raeford, just across the Hoke County line and there is a back way into post so you don’t have as much traffic. Another popular area is Harnett Co, usually Sanford/Cameron addresses. Both areas have experiences population boom in the past few years and subsequently most of the homes are newer homes, which means you’re paying a little more in price. But there are many several nice established neighborhoods in Fayetteville, away from base and the “bad” parts of town, you just have to know where to go and do some research. If you find a home you like, but aren’t sure what kind of area its in, you can always visit the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department website and type in the address and it will pull any recent activity.
Newer homes: many are 3bd 2ba with finished bonus room (over garage)- look to pay $1000 + for these homes to rent, $130,000+ for these homes to purchase. The further out from Fayetteville you get, the prices go up.
Established homes: 3bd 2ba range from $750+ for a decent well maintained home to rent. $90,000+ to purchase
If you rent, read your lease, understand it, and if you don’t agree with it, don’t sign it!!! You get what you pay for!
Rate the PX & Commissary. Great! Prices are much better than Walmart and other food stores around here. Worth the drive for the money saved! I use the south post commissary since we live on this side of town. I have shopped at both and they both are nice!
Activities on base? There is lots to do here! Golfing, fishing, Smith Lake which is on Fort Bragg, riding stables, swimming pools, 82nd Airborne Museum, parks, ice-skating rink, great 4th of July show and concert with some good name starts usually. Fort Bragg fair once a year, Oktober Fest each year. My kids enjoy going out to the drop zones and watching the paratroopers during jumps. All American Week offers lots of activities to watch and/or participate in, not just for troops either. Lots of things to do if you check into things!
Active Spouses Club? Not sure about this.
Things to do in area? There is the Airborne & Special Operations Museum downtown which is free of charge but donations appreciated. There is the Cape Fear River trail if you like to be outdoors. The Botanical Garden, Fantasy Lake (water park) in Hope Mills, NC Zoo in Pittsboro. Downtown Fayetteville has a nice little kids museum called “FascinateU Kids museum”. Raleigh is about 1 hr from south Fayetteville/Hoke County (closer if you are on north side of town and Harnett Co) has good shopping malls (Fayetteville’s is decent). Lots of big name concerts in Raleigh. Myrtle Beach is about 2 1/2 hours away and offers lots of things to do. Nice golf courses and clubs off post (Carolina Lakes, Anderson Creek, Cypress Lakes), fishing, there is an indoor skydiving place off HWY 401 in Raeford. If you prefer the real thing there is a place further into Hoke County but I am not sure any details on it. The mountains are about 4 hours away and there are lots of great places to visit and most offer military discounts, you just have to ask.
There are many great local churches to become part of too. The Bridge Community Church in Raeford is new church that I am part of. Casual, contemporary atmosphere and great people with one agenda…bringing people to God. http://www.newchurchon401.com/
Manna Church is also a large contemporary, non denominational church on Cliffdale Rd. Post also offers small non-denominational services as well.
I’ve heard so many people complain about the crime rate here and I am surprised that they are surprised. To me, it’s no worse than any other city with a population this size. You have to learn where to go and where to stay away from. Bragg Blvd, Murchison Rd areas aren’t great, but if you get away from those areas in more outside the city limits, Fayetteville isn’t a bad place.
School System? I will be homeschooling but I have done my research and personal experience on area schools. Schools is what you make it for your child, parents involvement is crucial. I have not heard the best things about EE Smith (which last time I checked is where the children from on post go) or Westover. The crime and gang violence is pretty bad from what I understand. People rave about Jack Britt yet both my sisters graduated from there and I don’t know what was so great about it. Seems to me status is a little more important than education to some the run the school board, in my opinion. Cumberland County just did a massive cut on faculty, only shortening an already short staffed school system for the amount of children this county receives. It just goes up each year, and they are cutting staff! Hoke Co has really gotten better since I first moved here in 2002. There is only one high school, but I would hope that they plan on new one soon with the recent population boom. Harnett Co. I have heard good things about. But not much detail.
There are many great private schools in the area, if you can afford the tuition and all the fees. Fayetteville Christian school, Village Christian Academy, Berean Academy, just to name a few that I know off the top of my head.
Any colleges in area? Fayetteville Technical Community College; Fayetteville State University, Methodist College.
Jobs? (on post and off) You’ll get what you put the effort into getting. If you’re expecting a good job to be handed to you then don’t bother looking. The pay scale isn’t what is bad, the childcare is insane. So by the time you pay for childcare, you have spent all your paycheck, so what’s the point in working? Check into temp agencies, many offer temp jobs that turn into fulltime jobs. I have worked off post since we got here, so I don’t know much about the opportunity getting on post, but I hear its pretty competitive.
Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city? There are so many people from all over the world and different walks of life. We’ve made lifetime friends in being here. There are lots of things to do if you just get out and do them and don’t expect it to come to you.
Least favorite aspect? The traffic-NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE IN FAYETTEVILLE OR SURROUNDING AREAS, THE TRAFFIC HERE IS HORRIBLE. BE PREPARED FOR THIS AND EXPECT IT…BECAUSE IT’S JUST HOW IT IS HERE!!!
Local websites? (base, chamber, newspaper, schools, etc.)
Any other tips? Fayetteville/Ft Bragg, as will any place you ever live- is what you make of it. If you come here with the insist that this is the worst place ever, then you’ll be completely miserable the entire time. Don’t take others experience here and come up with your own conclusion before you even get here…doing so will leave you with the same experience. While I know majority that are stationed here are not from here and won’t ever make this “home”, take the blessing God has given you as a traveler and explore the place. We have such an advantage and opportunity as military spouses/children/etc to see the world and parts of the world we never would have seen otherwise…take it and roll with it and make the best you possibly can!!!
Received August 2009