09/18/12 — Goldsboro council weighs options for new W.A. Foster Center

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Goldsboro council weighs options for new W.A. Foster Center

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 18, 2012 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council was briefed Monday night on two possible locations for the new W.A. Foster Recreation Center in Mina Weil Park, but members, who had been contentious over the site at their Sept. 4 meeting, opted to discuss the conversion of Mina Weil's pool into splash pads.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard showed the conversion of the pool into splash pads, water play areas that have no standing water, in his master plan rendering of the park along with two possible locations of the new W.A. Foster.

Attempts to purchase land elsewhere in the vicinity of the current W.A. Foster Center were unsuccessful, but Barnard was instructed to continue looking for other land purchase options while putting together a rendering to show where the center would be located if placed in Mina Weil.

The city already owns and maintains that land and Barnard said the location would allow for easy expansion in the future.

District 3 Councilman William Goodman was concerned the new location was too far from Lincoln Homes and Elmwood Terrace and District 4 Councilman Rev. Charles Williams said he wanted to see sidewalks along South John Street before putting the center at Mina Weil -- a concept he revisited when the conversation turned to sidewalks Monday.

Those concerns about Mina Weil weren't voiced, however, as the conversation hardly centered on W.A. Foster's location at all.

Williams implied he didn't like the idea of closing the pool at Mina Weil because despite its usage, he feels shifts in the population of nearby neighborhoods could increase attendance as young families move into the area.

Barnard said that splash pads, which would be no more than six inches in depth, would allow for more usage and less cost to the city, as there would be savings in staffing, including lifeguards.

City Manager Scott Stevens attempted to get the council members focused on selecting a location for the center, saying that he wouldn't want to continue looking for land to purchase and still have nothing to show for it in six months.

District 6 Councilman Gene Aycock seemed to be in favor of the Mina Weil location, if for no other reason than for cost savings.

"We own the land," he said. "That in itself would be a major savings there."

Design costs in the amount of $35,000 were granted in this year's budget to create concepts for the new W.A. Foster Recreation Center and Herman Park Center, meaning there should be renderings forthcoming of the centers, although Barnard provided a suggestion for Herman Park Center at the meeting which placed three basketball courts behind the center in the place of the Gray Room.

Barnard said although the center is called a recreation center, it doesn't truly have any recreation space.

Barnard also showed where the city's greenway system exists and how a grant he hopes the county of Wayne will apply for could help extend the greenway from New Hope Road through Wayne Community College and Wayne Memorial Hospital campuses, south to U.S. 70.

The council then heard a presentation from Planning Director Randy Guthrie about a sidewalk grant that would allow the city to finish its sidewalk along Wayne Memorial Drive from its terminus at U.S. 70 to Goldsboro High School near Beech Street with 30 percent coming from local funds.

Roads eligible for the grant would need to be maintained by the state Department of Transportation and have curb and gutter systems in place, but that didn't stop Williams from once again asking about installing sidewalk along John Street, even though there is no curb and gutter system there.

To install sidewalk there, it would require easements of land because the sidewalk would need to be placed behind the ditches that run along the road. On top of that, the city would need to acquire the roads, which are maintained by the state -- something Williams supports.

Stevens pointed out that the NCDOT would gladly give over its roads to the city, but cautioned that the liabilities and costs associated with that could be extensive.

Goodman asked that when the council begins discussing sidewalks that there be a study done to show areas where there is the most walking traffic.