05/06/04 — Community Building's board agrees on rebuilding landmark

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Community Building's board agrees on rebuilding landmark

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 6, 2004 2:05 PM

The Community Building's board of directors met Wednesday to discuss its future, three days after the beloved Wayne County landmark was destroyed by fire.

Nothing definite was decided in the brief meeting, except a consensus from the board that the building should be rebuilt.

From the former site of the Curb Market to the place where kids learned to swim, the Community Building on the corner of William and Walnut streets has been a hub of activity spanning decades.

Now, pictures from the inside of the burned-out building look like snapshots from a war zone. The black charred edges of the piles of rubble are a stark contrast to the outline of bright green trees visible through a window frame.

Outside the building, yellow and black crime tape frames the perimeter of the yard. Bits of broken glass lie near the side of the building, glittering through the piles of black ashes.

Though the historical plaques from the building have been saved, citizens throughout the county are still mourning the loss of the 79-year-old building.

"This was a unifying structure for the city and county," said Bill Powell, a trustee for the Wayne County Memorial Association. "I haven't run across anybody whose lives haven't been touched by that building."

City Recreation and Parks Director Neil Bartlett and board member Mike Lewis met with a representative from the building's insurance carrier, N.C. Joint Underwriting Association.

Bartlett said the adjuster gave them some forms, and said the company would sent out its own investigator Thursday afternoon.

Since the board hasn't received an opinion from the adjuster, members said it was premature to discuss reconstruction, other than to say it would be rebuilt, "in some shape or form."