01/08/12 — City Council expected to discuss fate of W.A. Foster Center

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City Council expected to discuss fate of W.A. Foster Center

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 8, 2012 1:50 AM

The fate of a popular recreation center as well as downtown's signature revitalization project will be among the topics of discussion at the City Council's work session Monday at 5 p.m. in the City Hall Annex on North Center Street.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard is scheduled to address the council about the W.A. Foster Recreation Center, which has been closed since Dec. 21 due to asbestos concerns.

The facility, built in 1939, contained asbestos in its building materials but it wasn't clear whether it posed a health risk. The building could be closed down completely if it proves too costly to remove the asbestos.

City officials opened the new round of bids for the Center Street Streetscape project Wednesday afternoon and will discuss them with the City Council during the work session as well, though no recommendation is expected.

The low bid comes from Daniels & Daniels Construction of Goldsboro, at $1,389,857.88, while the highest bid among the seven received was $1,637,952.83 from Hine Site Work. The low bid is nearly identical to the planning department's preliminary estimate of $1,380,800.

City Manager Scott Stevens said he anticipates having a recommendation for the council at the Jan. 23 meeting.

This is the second time the city has received bids on the project. When the initial bids came in, the council decided to alter the project in an effort to reduce the amount of money the city will need to borrow. Initial estimates showed the city could put up about $1.129 million from street bond money and the utility fund, so if the city moves forward with the project, it could be faced with borrowing about $260,000 for the completion of the 200 north block of Center Street.

Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan will also speak during the work session, discussing new appointments to the city's newly formed Air Force museum committee. The committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting Tuesday.

During the regular meeting, Finance Director Kaye Scott will also discuss the city's audit, which will be performed by Michelle Keifer with Pittard, Perry and Crone. Ms. Keifer will be on hand at the meeting to answer questions concerning the document.

The council's consent agenda contains three conditional use permits and one subdivision request.

Donald Smith has requested a conditional use permit for land on the east side of Bryan Boulevard between Buckhorn Road and Thompson Lane to allow a recreational vehicle park, while Zackell Perry requests the ability to open up a tattoo parlor on the south side of U.S. 117 South between Arrington Bridge Road and the Neuse River. Jerald Huffman requests to open up a place of entertainment with no ABC permits in the Little River Shopping Center on U.S. 70 West called The Dizzy Donkey.

An area of land located on the northwest corner of John and Mulberry streets is being considered to be divided into three lots for duplex apartments.

Council will also set a public hearing date for a contiguous annexation request for Scott Lafevers' property on the south side of Lockhaven Drive and consider a budget amendment to contract with Marlowe and Company to continue lobbying for federal grants in Washington, D.C. for $21,600 through June 30.

The council would also approve changes to the speed limit zone along Stevens Mill Road and a $9,000 budget ordinance to clear out and mulch overgrowth in Stoney Creek Park.

State and federal forfeiture money ordinances round out the council's consent agenda.

The sole item requiring individual action is the conditional district rezoning of the northwest corner of West Holly Street and North Virginia Street. Franklin Baking has requested the rezoning for continuity as it owns many parcels in the area. Residents in the area have expressed concern about the possible expansion of the business and the impact that may have on the neighborhood.