10/22/13 — Council weighs recreation bond

View Archive

Council weighs recreation bond

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on October 22, 2013 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council was asked Monday to consider supporting an $18.9 million bond referendum for Parks and Recreation projects to be put up for a vote in May.

The decision would need to be made by December in order for city Finance Director Kaye Scott to start pulling together all of the necessary paperwork to get state approval to sell the bonds.

The money would go for the construction of a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center, the construction of a multi-sports complex, improvements to Herman Park and Herman Park Center and to pave city greenways.

The bond was originally recommended at $18 million, $6 million for each of the first three projects. The greenway paving was added in after Councilman Chuck Allen said the referendum needed to contain something for everyone in the city.

Allen suggested the Council hold a work session in November to discuss the bond referendum in detail.

City Manager Scott Stevens said that he felt $18.9 million was the right figure to seek approval to sell regardless of whether that many bonds are actually sold. It would provide a buffer if more money is needed, he said.

"We don't have to sell that much. I don't want to say it's impossible, but it's hard to change a bond," Stevens said.

The cost of holding the referendum would be about $70,000.

In other business, the architect of the proposed GATEWAY transfer facility, David Gall, told the City Council that the project is about a third of the way through the design development phase.

The more than 5,000 square-foot complex would feature overhanging roofs for buses to pull under to keep riders dry, seating areas inside the building and office space. The complex would also have spaces for the city vans and buses to park on site in the south lot of Goldsboro Union Station.

Councilman William Goodman questioned the safety of storing the buses and vans on the site, which sits in the 100 block of N. Carolina Street.

"That's not really a good area to park them overnight," Goodman said.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Metz said that the complex would be fenced and have a security system.

Goodman wanted to know if there would be security personnel on site. Mrs. Metz said no.

The center plus site work is expected to cost about $7.6 million and is funded as part of a $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant. The project is expected to go out for bid in February or March.

Discussion then turned to the possible refurbishing of the F-86 Sabre fighter jet on loan to the city from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The jet has been in Goldsboro since 1970 and was last moved from Herman Park to the Goldsboro Police Department when it was refurbished in 1993.

The cost of refurbishing the jet would range from $4,000 to $6,000, plus the cost of moving the jet to the base, where it would be refurbished. If the work is done by a private company is could cost between $18,000 and $20,000.

Allen said he wants to prominently display the plane if the city is going to spend the money refurbishing it.

"If we put any money into it then we need to put it where you can see it. Put it in 'Bob Waller Park' down there for all I care," Allen said, referring to Stoney Creek Park.

Council members discussed moving the plane near the welcome sign at the traffic circle at Ash and Center Streets.

Stevens said that he thought the base option would be less expensive and that the base personnel would probably enjoy refurbishing the jet. The project would be expected to take two to six months to complete.

Six public hearings were held during the regular session of the City Council, resulting in the annexation of the Butterball poultry facility property to allow it to be served by city sewer. The facility needs extra capacity for a hatchery being planned.

The Council also heard a request to rezone a residential property on Cuyler Best Road for office use.

Six neighboring residents spoke against the rezoning while only the lawyer representing the owner of the property spoke for the rezoning.

A valid protest petition has been turned in with more than 55 percent of the area residents' signatures, meaning the rezoning would require a 6-1 vote by the Council.

Two other public hearings were held related to the operation of used car lots, one along U.S. 117 near Vann Street and the other on U.S. 70 near N.C. 111 South.

Lanbranch Development is seeking to have a 14-acre tract of land rezoned as R-9 Residential zoning for a subdivision to allow for a higher density of lots than the existing R-12 zoning. The change would allow the owner to build 40 houses on the property.

First Citizens Bank is seeking a General Business Conditional District zoning to sell the property more quickly.

The property would be sold with the caveat that it could not be opened as a bank.

The planning requests will go to the city Planning Commission for their recommendations at their meeting on Monday.

A budget amendment was approved appropriating $6,000 from the General Fund to give to Literacy Connections.

The DGDC facade grant program was also appropriated $6,398. The program ran out of money after an unusually high number of grant requests this year.