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Teen center merits again discussed

If the city builds a community center, Ward 2 Alderman TerryBates believes the children will come. Mayor Bill Godbold is not sosure.

The merits of a community or teen center surfaced Wednesdaynight during discussion of the possible purchase of some NorthSecond Street property for a facility.

“I got a problem building a teen center period,” Godboldsaid.

The mayor said there was a question about who would come and usethe facility. He said if big kids came, then the smaller ones wouldnot, and vice versa.

“We’re not in the baby-sitting business,” Godbold said.

The mayor’s comments came while expressing a need for board ofaldermen notification before proceeding with city matters.

“We need to bring our problems to this table,” the mayorsaid.

Godbold’s comments were apparently aimed at Bates, who has beenworking with City Attorney Joe Fernald on land purchase issues.

The alderman said nothing was done undercover. And, if the landwas bought or not, he said the issue would be brought before theboard.

Aldermen had set aside funds in this year’s budget to build acommunity center on Williams Street. Godbold said progress wasstopped because of uncertainty over who would use the facility, butBates cited funding issues.

Bates said the North Second Street site is preferable because itwould be more accessible and more people would use it.

“I don’t want it built in my backyard because somebody might notcome to it,” Bates said. “I want it where everybody can come toit.”

The property in question is next to the old Co-Op, Bates said.It is owned by former Mayor Harold Samuels and former AldermanLouis Mullen.

With chemicals having been stored south of the property, Fernaldsuggested the city look into the cost of doing some deeper soiltests.

The owners have paid for 12-foot soil tests. However, mentioningcontamination found on speculative building property in theIndustrial Park, Fernald said it would be prudent to checkdeeper.

Officials instructed Fernald to check into the cost of the soiltesting. They also asked him to see if the current owners wouldparticipate to help defer soil testing costs.

“If we get that property, we need to make sure we can putsomething on it for the purpose intended,” Fernald said.