01/24/07 — Committee reviews plans for new recreation center

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Committee reviews plans for new recreation center

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 24, 2007 1:50 PM

As crews worked to clear property located on the 200 block of Center Street Tuesday, officials were meeting up the road to review preliminary plans for the building they say will soon be constructed there.

Members of the Recreation Center Committee were joined at City Hall by staff from architectural firm Pearce, Brinkley, Cease and Lee -- the group hired to design Goldsboro's recently approved community building.

Jennifer Attride began the presentation by reminding the group that the drawings do not yet represent the final product.

"This is a work in progress," she said. "We just wanted to show you what we've got so far."

With some details remaining to be added in, what the firm has come up with resembles a YMCA -- a 52,000-plus-square-foot facility equipped with a swimming pool, indoor basketball court and track, locker rooms and an area for exercise equipment.

Committee members agreed that the plans were on the right track, but some gave Mrs. Attride and her associate, Irvin Pearce, a few suggestions.

"I don't think that's enough bleacher space," committee chairman and City Council member Chuck Allen said, looking at the drawing of the gymnasium.

Other ideas were mentioned also -- inclusion of a room for free weights, using technology other than chlorine to keep the pool clean and more.

Pearce said the pair would take the suggestions back to Raleigh, and the drawing board, but was quick to note that any major additions could raise the price tag on a project already estimated to run $10 million.

"We wanted to bring in a building that fits your budget," he said. "Ten million -- we're trying to focus in on that. We're going to have to balance beauty and cost."

But those in attendance Tuesday still believe the building will be both attractive and cost-effective.

Pearce said ideally, work on the facility would begin in late-April, with crews digging the pool first. Then, by the end of the summer, residents might expect to see steel going up along Center Street.

And however the time table ends up playing out, both he and Mrs. Attride said they were encouraged by the commitments already made by the city to the project.

"We drove down the street and saw the building coming down," he said. "That's good."

The city entered into option agreements to purchase the two parcels of land along Center Street for a total cost of $450,000 -- the first, owned by Claude and Evelyn Paul, was purchased for $187,500 and the second, owned by Patrick McArthur and Paul, sold for more than $260,000.

City Council members then approved a bid, submitted by A/K Demolition and Grading of LaGrange, for demolition and removal of all buildings, sheds, pavement, light poles, fixtures, fencing and other material on the site.

The cost of that work, $86,000, will likely be covered by Community Development Block Grant funds, officials said. The Department of Housing and Urban Development allows for those funds to be used to remove areas of blight via demolition.

Pearce and Mrs. Attride will be back next month for another discussion with the committee armed with a revised set of drawings, they said.

The Wayne County Memorial Community Building was opened in 1925 on Walnut Street and was dedicated to Wayne County veterans who fought and died in World War I. The building was destroyed by fire in 2004.