04/30/06 — Rec Center committee still trying to cut cost

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Rec Center committee still trying to cut cost

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 30, 2006 2:09 AM

Goldsboro Recreation Center Committee members discussed ways to cut costs on the once estimated $12 million project Wednesday after Mayor Al King and others voiced their concerns about the price tag at their April 12 meeting.

The committee also entertained the possibility of recommending a change in location to City Council members.

The current site, located between Center and Elm streets, is already owned by the city, and would not require the purchase of additional properties for the project. The proposed new location is still close to the center of Goldsboro's downtown, but would require the acquisition of two properties by City Council.

One money-saving suggestion involved making changes to the pool. Early discussions yielded opinions from many that an indoor pool would be ideal, but committee chairman Chuck Allen said while that design would be his preference, covering the pool with a bubble would save $2 million.

"If we go with the bubble, we'll reduce the cost of the project," Allen said. "I'd like to see an indoor pool, but we've got to see what we can do."

At a meeting held last month, Allen noted that reducing the size of the parking lot or simply finding a way to provide parking with existing spaces downtown would also help bring the $12 million figure down.

Committee member Carroll Overton said April 12 that bringing the project cost down was a must.

"The money for this is beyond what I find acceptable based on who I've talked to," he said.

Mayor Al King agreed, telling the committee he found the projected total "ridiculous."

"We are pricing ourselves to death here," he said.

To that end, at Wednesday's meeting, Overton offered some money-saving suggestions of his own, including the possibility of eliminating the indoor track from the plan.

City Manager Joe Huffman said recent discussions are good and represent a thoughtful planning process -- one that will be positive for the project in the long run.

"The longer it takes to do, the more complete our funding plan will be," he said.

A longer planning and design process also may increase the funds available for the project, he added, citing the potential for an increase in tax base over time.