06/08/05 — Family Y joins effort to build downtown

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Family Y joins effort to build downtown

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 8, 2005 1:48 PM

Officials with the Goldsboro Family Y have informally agreed to join an effort to build a new Community Building downtown.

The Family Y's board of directors probably would not contribute to the building's construction costs, but the Y would be interested in managing the new facility, Executive Director John Richards told the Goldsboro City Council Monday night.

The old Community Building was destroyed by fire last year.

The new building would include a pool, gym and meeting rooms. The facility also would include tennis courts. The design would likely incorporate a memorial for the county's war dead.

If the new building was a branch of the Family Y, it could operate at a profit, or at least break even, within a few years, Richards said.

City Councilman Chuck Allen said he sees the Family Y as a key to breaking a deadlock on where the replacement will be built.

For months, city officials have tried to rally support for city-owned location on South Center Street, between Elm and Spruce streets. But many of the Community Building's trustees have been concerned about low-income housing surrounding the site and the potential for crime.

But the trustees seem to be more willing to get involved if the Family Y takes the lead in the project, Allen said.

"The Y is here for the community. Anything we can do for the citizens of Goldsboro, we'll be glad to do," Richards said.

The City Council expects to appoint a committee at its June 20 meeting.

The Community Building's trustees have more than $1.8 million in insurance funds from the 2004 fire. The city would also be expected to contribute money, and Allen expects to approach Wayne County commissioners about financial help.

The former Wayne County Memorial Community Building opened in 1925 across Walnut Street from the Wayne County Courthouse as a memorial to county residents who fought and died in World War I. Plaques were later added to recognize casualties of other wars.

The building originally was intended to be home for "patriotic and welfare agencies," such as the American Legion and the Community Chest, a forerunner of the United Way. But it had become more of a recreational facility in recent years. The city extensively used its pool and gym for programs.

On May 2, 2004, a fire destroyed the Community Building's interior and collapsed its roof. The trustees, who are technically its owners, decided in November 2004 to demolish the remaining walls and rebuild on a larger location.