07/21/07 — In step with history: Community Building should accommodate past and future

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In step with history: Community Building should accommodate past and future

Seeing an actual rendering of the proposed replacement for the burned-down Community Building is a positive sight, especially in light of the number of months that have gone into planning for the new construction.

There is no question that a community center would be a welcome addition to Goldsboro. A centralized meeting place for residents to use — and at which local teenagers and children can gather — would be a great way to add a recreational element to the city.

Once the structure is built, the next job will be to make sure it is a vibrant and well-used part of downtown, with programs that cater to all ages.

But that is for another day.

For now, the question is how much will be spent and what the new facility will look like.

And that is where there might be a bit of disagreement.

The current plan includes a glass front for the facility — a clean, modern look.

But there are some city officials who think perhaps a more traditional design would fit in better with the current layout downtown.

And they are right.

The whole idea of starting downtown revitalization — in addition to bringing in more money for the city coffers — was to create a historical feel for downtown. That’s why the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation is encouraging residents to buy up some of the homes in the area and to refurbish them to their former glory.

Capitalizing on that charm and historic significance was to be a draw for not only residents and tourists, but for grant money designed to encourage such use of space.

So, staying with that plan is advantageous for the city.

There is no great battle here. Everyone wants to work out a design that best suits not only the purpose of the building, but the future of the downtown area. An agreement should be reached quickly and easily.

However, one of the reasons not to change direction should not be money.

Making sure there is a viable community center that maintains the hard work that has already been done downtown is critical.

Taking a little extra time to be sure city officials have made the best possible choice to suit that end is well worth a couple extra dollars in architect fees.

The old adage — measure twice, cut once — is critical here. This community wants a center that is cost-effective and worth the investment. Now is the time to make sure those criteria are met.

This project has the potential to add a whole new dimension to downtown Goldsboro.

Making sure it is done right the first time will allow city leaders to concentrate on the next step — getting people downtown to use it.

Published in Editorials on July 21, 2007 11:13 PM