04/04/06 — Council sets aside funds for center design

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Council sets aside funds for center design

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 4, 2006 1:53 PM

On the night when most City Council members got their first look at plans to construct a recreation center downtown, council unanimously approved spending $150,000 to begin work on the project's schematic design.

Council member Chuck Allen, who also serves on the Recreation Center Committee, presented preliminary plans for the facility during council's work session Monday. As it stands, the building will resemble a YMCA -- a 58,000-square-foot facility, equipped with an indoor track, pool, gymnasium, a fitness center and dressing rooms.

Allen added the estimated cost of the project is $12 million, a figure he called "the maximum."

"We know we can do this project without spending a penny more than $12 million," he said. "But we could do it for much less. We just don't know right now."

The actual cost, he said, would depend on the success of fundraising efforts and potential aid from federal and state grant money.

Allen added that none of the plans for the project have been finalized and that the Recreation Center Committee is continuing to work to find the best way to fund and construct the facility.

"Nothing is etched in stone here," Allen said. "This is what we've got so far."

Later, during their first meeting of the month, council unanimously approved allocation of $150,000 from the city's general fund to the Recreation and Parks Department. That money, Allen said, will fund the beginning of the schematic design phase of the project, which will ultimately cost more than $500,000.

At their March 20 meeting, council members voted to fund a $10,000 comprehensive survey of the land they plan to use for construction -- at the south end of Center Street between Spruce and Elm streets.

Council member Bob Waller said it is important for Goldsboro residents to understand that efforts to move along with the project are only the first steps in a lengthy plan outlined by the council at its annual retreat held in February. Completion of a recreation center, he said, would not mean the end of future projects, despite concerns raised after Wednesday's Paramount Reconstruction Committee meeting.

"We're going through our priorities list one at a time," he said. "This (recreation center) was our first priority other than this one (three-phase city hall project). I don't believe anyone ever said we're not going to build a Paramount."