05/17/04 — Future of Communuty Building uncertain

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Future of Communuty Building uncertain

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on May 17, 2004 2:00 PM

Several steps have to be taken before the future of the Community Building is definite, according to the building's board of directors and board of trustees.

The building burned two weeks ago.

Ed Borden, a trustee, said in a meeting this morning that it is premature to make any decisions regarding the building's future before hearing from more people, including those who have paid dues to use the building.

Another step will be learning what was destroyed by the fire. City Recreation and Parks Director Neil Bartlett said he has not had any contact with the insurance adjuster within the last week and he is putting together a list of everything that was destroyed along with a cost assessment on how much the items are worth. He hopes to have the information completed by the end of the week.

Bartlett said that a good amount of the aquatic equipment has been saved, including a new chemical control and feed system, which is worth approximately $3,500. He recommended that it be kept for future use because it is adaptable to other pools.

Borden recommended that a group be designated to make sure that the money it receives from the insurance company is used appropriately and not put in the building's operating budget.

The board and trustees received a letter from Raleigh structural consultant Lasiter, Hopkins & Cheng. The letter said the company could conduct a structural investigation of the building and prepare a report on its findings. Borden said having a company look at the building to see if it is salvageable is the first step. Then a decision could be made on whether it is practical to use what is left.

The board may decide not to use the Raleigh company. Board members decided to contact the company for more details.

The board and trustees also expressed concern that the building is not secured from people entering and possibly damaging what is left. John Lewis, a board member, said the yellow tape around the building is down. Members said the area needs to be taped off, cleaned up and some areas should be boarded up. Bartlett said that he will take care of that as soon as possible.

He said there was a second fire in the building a few weeks ago on the second floor in a storage area. The cause of the fires is unknown.

The State Bureau of Investigations determined that the original fire began in the office, but it could not determine exactly what caused it.

The directors and trustees plan to meet again in a few weeks once it gets more information about the building's structure and hears back from the insurance company.

Bartlett said he has talked to officials of two or three swimming pools in the area to see if they can be used for children's swimming lessons which were taught in the Community Building.

The senior citizen "swimnastics" is being held at the Family Y. Daryl Woodard with the Wayne County Youth Outreach Program is using an office in the Centura Bank on Ash Street. The program had been based in the Community Building. Bartlett is also working to find out where the Red Cross training will be held.