07/16/13 — Foster center plans proposed

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Foster center plans proposed

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on July 16, 2013 1:46 PM

Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard presented the estimated cost for the new W.A. Foster set to be built at Mina Weil Park at a City Council work session Monday afternoon.

The overall cost of the project was shown with a double gym and single gym utilizing the middle level of construction, which would most likely be a concrete building.

The overall cost of the project with a double gym including furnishings, site work for parking and the entryway and allowances for increased costs in design and contingencies brought the project to $5,963,658 and to $5,151,654 with a single gym.

Barnard argued for the double gym option citing it as a current need for Goldsboro, saying it is something Goldsboro has needed for 20 years.

Councilman Gene Aycock said that the city could not afford to put $5 million into a recreation center right now.

"I'll put it this way, I can't see myself voting for it," said Aycock. "I would love to drive a Cadillac but I can afford a Chevrolet."

Barnard answered with, "This is a Suburban, not an Escalade."

Councilman Michael Headen said that whatever the Council decides, they need to do something.

"How can we look them in the eye and say we're not gonna do this then turn around and do the next phase of Streetscape," Headen said. "What message does that send?"

Mayor Al King was resolute about the need for a gym for the Goldsboro youth.

"We have got to build a gym for these kids," he said emphatically.

Barnard asked that the Council bid out the project for both a single and a double gym to get a real look at the cost to see what the difference would be.

"Maybe we bid it out and see it's not an $800,000 difference, maybe it's a $400,000 difference.

The issue resolved with the Council directing Barnard and City Manager Scott Stevens to work to trim the project to $4 million.

During the public comment period at the Council meeting that followed, Mary Rowe railed against the mayor and Council over the plans for building the new W.A. Foster at Mina Weil Park, calling them liars and saying that Barnard wanted to put what he wanted in the building, not what the people wanted.

Several public meetings were held to see what was most important to residents of Goldsboro in the new W.A. Foster, as well as what work should be done to Mina Weil Park.

Ms. Rowe also accused the mayor and Council members of working to segregate the black community by putting them all in the same facility at Mina Weil Park.

At the end of the meeting, Councilman Chuck Allen rebutted her remarks.

"I went back and forth about whether to say anything and I feel I need to. I didn't do it when she was here to avoid a back and forth," said Allen. "Ms. Rowe implied that we lied. We did not. We were told the (Foster) site was not big enough. We made efforts to acquire adjacent properties but people wanted crazy prices for them so we had no choice but to move."

Allen went on to explain that the city held public meetings on the project and nothing was done behind closed doors.

"Everyone may not like it but we did what we thought was best for the community," Allen said.