08/20/13 — Council weighs offers on site

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Council weighs offers on site

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on August 20, 2013 1:46 PM

Two items not on the Goldsboro City Council agenda dominated discussion at the council's work session Monday night: an offer on the former Arts Council of Wayne County property and a possible partnership with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to build a proposed multi-sports complex.

The Little Bank increased its offer to $600,000 from $500,000 in June for the 3.5-acre property at the corner of Ash Street and Spence Avenue, which is in the final stages of demolition.

After no upset bids were received, the council tabled a decision on the bank's offer, citing a desire to allow the property to be seen with the building demolished in hopes of drawing a larger offer to recoup a portion of the loss on the property.

The city bought the property from the Arts Council with the intention of turning it into an Air Force museum. But after $163,500 was spent on consulting fees, the project was found to be too expensive without private backing.

A recommendation is expected at the Sept. 3 council meeting after the upset bid process is complete.

In other action, Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard gave a presentation about a possible partnership between the base and the city to build an athletics complex that would provide fields for use by base personnel and for sports tournaments by the city.

The details on the partnership are still fuzzy about which entities would pay for which components and upkeep.

"With a shared athletics complex, we could spend less money or get more stuff," Barnard said. "You get more bang for your buck."

The idea arose out of meetings between the base and local municipalities as part of the P4 initiative.

These public-public and public-private partnerships are designed to allow military bases to combine resources with public or private entities directly to save money.

City Manager Scott Stevens said P4 is a new Department of Defense initiative utilizing 15 Air Force bases as pilot programs to test how the system works.

Barnard requested approval to enter into a $12,000 contract with Site Solutions, a Charlotte based architectural firm, to design site plans for the project, including choosing a preferred location on base property.

Councilman William Goodman was uneasy with agreeing to move forward with plans coming from a group without any City Council member sitting on its board.

"I want a committee of two or three council members on that board. We are the ones who are elected to do that," Goodman said. "I don't think it's something that staff needs to be totally involved in."

Stevens and Mayor Al King currently serve on the P4 board.

Councilman Chuck Allen said he was not sure if the time had come in the discussions for money to be put into a study. The money for the study would come from Travel and Tourism dollars from the city's hotel tax.

"We need enough information to talk," King said.

Council member Gene Aycock said he did not see how the city could afford not to have the study if it would save money in the long run.

It was decided that a budget amendment for the $12,000 contract will be brought before council.

Four public hearings were held during the council meeting. No one spoke for or against any of the proposed business ventures: a hookah lounge on Ash Street, an Internet sweepstakes cafe and two cemeteries.

The planning commission will meet Monday and is expected to have recommendations for council at its next meeting.

The council approved two road closures for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and fire truck pull and Piper's Promise, a 5K and youth walk to raise money for charities.

For the 5K, Center Street from Spruce to Ash streets will be closed from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sept. 14 and for the Torch Run, Center Street between Spruce and Chestnut streets will be closed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Aug. 19.