02/06/07 — City Council pays bill for consultant on project

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City Council pays bill for consultant on project

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 6, 2007 1:50 PM

Goldsboro City Council members approved the expenditure of $160,000 at their meeting Monday for the next set of plans from Pearce, Brinkley, Cease and Lee -- the firm charged with designing the new Wayne County Memorial Community Building.

Last month, representatives from the design team showed off their latest floor plans to members of the city's Recreation Center Committee -- a 52,000-plus-square-foot facility that resembles a YMCA.

Officials estimate the project, which includes a swimming pool, locker rooms, indoor track and other amenities, will cost more than $10 million.

And while no finalized rendering has been approved by council members, their hope is to begin work on the facility in mid-April.

Some steps, though, have already been taken to ensure the project moves at full-steam once the council approves the firm's plan.

Property on the 200 block of Center Street -- the future site of the building -- has been purchased and cleared at a cost totaling $536,000.

The work on the site was completed by LaGrange-based A/K Grading and involved removal of all buildings, sheds, pavement, light poles, fixtures, fencing and other material on the property.

Officials at City Hall said they are still waiting to see if the cost of that work will be covered by Community Development Block Grant funds. In some cases, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allows for those funds to be used to remove areas of blight via demolition.

But the recreation center was not the only downtown issue council members took action on at the meeting.

They also voted unanimously against a request from Henry and Tamaro Battle that would have allowed the couple to open a place of entertainment in the old Elk's Club building along James Street.

At their Jan. 22 meeting, the council heard from several area residents during a public hearing on the matter. Nine of them said approving the request would bring drugs and violence back to their neighborhood.

One of them, the Rev. Henry Gregory Jr., was on hand Monday.

"I want to say thank you on behalf of the citizens of my community," the James Street resident said after the conditional land use request was denied. "We highly appreciate what you have done here tonight."