Aldermen eyeing park building for recreation events

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 27, 2009

With a playground and the spray park, Bicentennial Park iscoming into its own as a place where families can take theirchildren for hours of enjoyment.

But soon there will be even more to encourage families to stayand play all day.

A metal garage-type building on land adjoining Bicentennial Parkwill soon be used for an activity center. At Tuesday night’saldermen meeting, the board voted to rent the building thatofficials say is in extremely good condition.

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“When we purchased the additional land for Bicentennial Park, wewere thinking what else we could do to improve the park,” said WardOne Alderman Dorsey Cameron. “We knew when we got the spray parkhere there would be a lot more activities, and we thought this wasa good idea, so we jumped on it.”

The building, which used to serve as a garage on the propertybought from former Lincoln County Supervisor Bill Loving, is about2,400 square feet, Cameron said.

A cabinet runs around three of the walls. The building is alsoalready handicapped accessible.

“It was so amazing when the mayor and I went to look at it,”Cameron said. “The floor is so clean, it’s well taken care of. It’sprobably about 10 years old, with a good roof, good siding, and aramp that goes up into the front.”

Parks and Recreation Department Director Terry Reid said thebuilding will take some gradual work, but should provide a goodplace for people to come in from out of the elements during abirthday party, family reunion or other event.

“This year, we’ll clean it up and put a restroom in there andsome big fans, and we’ll rent it for a minimum amount so you canhave gatherings there and a place to get out of the sun,” Reidsaid.

Eventually heating and cooling will be added, officials said.That’s one of the main reasons that a rental fee will be charged -the building will have to be maintained.

“We’re going to charge there, because there’s work we’ll need toput back in there,” Cameron said. “We’ll want to put a coolingsystem and heating system, and that will cost money, but don’t wantto go to taxpayers for it. It will pay for itself with the rentalfee.”

Reid also said he would be working on grants for upgrades onthings like the air-conditioning system. His department will handlethe rental of the facility once it becomes usable. At this pointthere is no time frame, but officials say it’s just a matter oftime.

“We’re going to come up with some other ideas for it, becausewe’ve been wondering what we could do with this building,” Cameronsaid. “Then we realized that the public would love to see it be afacility for family get-togethers.

“Bicentennial will be busy this summer with spray park and thenew playground, and this will be a great option for people.”

The recreation department board will vote on a rental fee forthe facility at an upcoming meeting, Reid said. He said he isexcited about getting the potential party pavilion up andrunning.

“It’ll be good for the park, it’ll be good to have a facilityaround the park for things to go on, because it’s a nice park,”Reid said. “The spray park will be there, we’ve got green space,and this will be a good addition to that. We’ll put some picnictables in front and really fix it up.”

The building will be kept shut and locked when it’s not beingused for a function, Reid said. At some point in the future,additions like rollup doors with insulated glass will be added, butsuch additions will have to wait until the budget for the newfiscal year.