The Goldsboro City Council’s decision to allow free use of the T.C. Coley Center is a good one. For one year, not-for-profit groups seeking to use the center will do so at no cost while the city looks for a viable nonprofit to take over the facility.
At the cost of about $3,000 per month to keep up the center, the city is taking on a burdensome responsibility in the eyes of some residents. But the price tag becomes less steep when it is realized all that a center like T.C. Coley can do for a neighborhood and its community.
Mayor Chuck Allen recognized the significance of T.C. Coley, saying last week that the idea all along was to raze the Coley Center after building and opening the W.A. Foster Center.
“That was always the plan,” Allen said. “Because it is important to the black community and because we needed meeting space, those are the reasons I advocated to keep it to start with.”
Nonprofits servicing the community use the center; kids and others attend the center to play basketball and other games. It is a community gathering point when so many have been lost over the years due to city and county budget cuts. T.C. Coley is a symbol of the days when neighborhoods were the focus for so many people, and the center must be as accessible as possible today to the neighborhood community.
As the city should continue to fund T.C. Coley, it also should continue to provide money for the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course. But maybe not as much. Expenses less revenue appear to be dropping — in 2016-17 the golf course lost $179,358 — with less debt on the course. The data indicate that 165 people are course members with a majority of them — 93 members — being seniors age 60 and up. Golf courses, like community centers, may seem like extravagances that taxpayers cannot afford. The city cannot afford to stop funding the facilities.
Businesses looking to relocate to Goldsboro will look for such amenities for their employees. No golf course. One less community center. Fewer businesses are interested in coming to town. Then there are the recreational opportunities these facilities offer and the other positive aspects that all equate to a better quality of life.
Don’t get us wrong. $179,358 is a lot of money. Therefore, we do suggest the city look for more efficient ways to run the golf course, such as attracting corporate sponsors and putting on tournaments. But run it, it must, and find a nonprofit to take on the T.C. Coley Center. In this way, Goldsboro’s quality of life is maintained, and fewer tax dollars are spent. And isn’t that where the discussion started anyway?