Plan for center at park gets OK
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 6, 2012 1:46 PM
What began as a contentious discussion by the Goldsboro City Council about the future location of the W.A. Foster Recreation Center ended Monday night with a unanimous vote to build a new center at Mina Weil Park.
The decision came after a closed session discussion that involved another option.
Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard came before the Goldsboro City Council asking for authorization to advertise for and to hire a designer for a center to be located at Mina Weil, but District 1 Councilman Michael Headen seemed incensed that the decision was up for a vote without further discussion.
Headen, who works in the field of mental health, asked if he had amnesia or dementia since he didn't recall the council being consulted properly before the decision was made.
"We had a discussion," he said. "Why do we have to act like we're going around the backs of someone?"
He then appeared to ask that the measure, which already required individual action, be removed from the agenda entirely.
"I'm not comfortable voting on this. It hasn't been vetted properly," he said.
It became apparent from council members' comments that there had been another option considered for the center in previous closed session meetings. Council members questioned the appropriateness of discussing the center location in open session.
Councilman William Goodman asked that the discussion be moved to closed session, but City Manager Scott Stevens and City Attorney Jim Womble informed the council that only the property could be discussed in closed session, not the merits of the property as compared with others. That discussion would need to be held in open session, Womble said.
Councilman Rev. Charles Williams pointed out that although there had been an outcry from the residents of his district, District 4, about the proposition of putting the center at Mina Weil, he hadn't received any telephone calls about it.
"Why haven't they called me?" he asked.
Council members agreed to discuss the possibility of a property acquisition in closed session following the open session of Monday's meeting. When they emerged from the closed session, Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen made a motion that the plans for W.A. Foster at Mina Weil go forward. Williams seconded the motion and the measure was approved unanimously.