11/05/06 — City Council backing plan for projects

View Archive

City Council backing plan for projects

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 5, 2006 10:32 AM

Despite funding questions that remain unanswered for the estimated $14 million Paramount and Community Building reconstruction projects, some Goldsboro City Council members said they are still confident moving forward with both facilities is the right move for the city and its residents.

"I think some way we'll work it out," Councilman Bob Waller said. "I don't know which way yet, but we'll find it."

City Manager Joe Huffman and other city staff have been working to find that plan since Mayor Al King announced council's intention to move forward with both projects at the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. annual awards banquet Sept. 22.

Some city residents, including Adam Evans and Mike Watson, said in e-mails they have not yet heard from council members on the status of the projects and hope their elected officials can provide assurances.

"We just heard that they approved them," Evans said. "Besides the manager, nobody but Mr. Weil has really gone beyond that."

"I just don't want my taxes raised for buildings I won't be using," Watson added.

Councilman Jackie Warrick said he remains confident that the projects will happen and that he won't be put off by concerns.

"I'm pleased with the projects and I'm pleased that we're moving forward and I don't respond to random e-mails," he said.

Waller said he was also pleased with progress made by the council and city management team and added the Paramount and Community Building are among "many great projects" on the list for completion in the next decade -- a vision that also includes completion of a revamped Stoney Creek Park and construction of a civic center.

"All of these are community projects," he said. "So, it's going to be a quality of life issue for everyone in this community. I hope they will join with us in finding a way to make them all happen. It might take us 10 years, but that's OK."

In the meantime, a preliminary funding plan for the Paramount and Community plan look promising and doable, Councilman Don Chatman said -- assuming certain grant monies are approved.

"From the preliminary plan that Joe showed us on financing, it looks like both projects can be done with no tax increase," he said. "We're just basically waiting for word (on several grants). We're hoping that we can go forward with the plan that has been presented."

Waller agreed with Chatman that one funding source that will not be looked at as an option is a tax increase.

"We're not going out on a limb, and we're not going to tax the people to death on this," Waller said.

Chatman said if particular grants are not approved and there is less money to work with, the combined $14 million price tag for the two projects will have to come down.

"If things end up looking unaffordable, we'll have to scale (the facilities) back," he said.

But Waller said he hopes a doable plan is out there, for the residents' sake.

"I think (the community building) is going to be outstanding, not just for those who are retirees but for the young kids, too," he said. "And the Paramount was always good for everybody. That's the only reason I'm on the council -- to help make this community a better place to live for our grandchildren and everybody else in Goldsboro."

Chatman echoed those sentiments.

"I think both are going to improve the quality of life, not just for downtown, but for Goldsboro and the surrounding community," he said.

"The council is unanimous in its support of the the two projects, but it seems the Paramouint will be the first facility to be realized," Council-man Charles Williams said.

"I believe all the citizens of Goldsboro, well, most of them, will be in favor of the plans, especially the ones to reconstruct the Community Building.," Williams added.

Council members Chuck Allen and Jimmy Bryan did not return calls for comment by press time.