Status Update on the Proposed Recreation and Senior Center
With all of the discussions surrounding the Proposed Recreation and Senior Center project, it is time to both review the process that has been undertaken and explain the future that lies ahead. It is always the goal of Person County Government to provide accurate information and transparent accountability to keep our residents well informed.
Public input has played a critical role in the development of the Recreation and Senior Center project. This input has shaped the design, the components, the amenities, and the location selection. More than a dozen public forums were held across the county to gain input on the design of the center. In addition, the project manager distributed a survey throughout the county asking our residents to rank their top amenities in priority order. 208 surveys were received. The top five highest ranked amenities were: a swimming pool, exercise equipment machines, exercise programs, aerobics classes, and water aerobics. All of these amenities are included in the current existing plans; the entire design of the Recreation & Senior Center has been molded into a plan that reflects our citizen’s needs.
During the three public input meetings in May 2012, 145 individuals participated. At the December 3, 2012 Board of Commissioners’ meeting, more than 100 people attended the meeting and twelve individuals made public comments.
Below is a complete list of public input sessions where public comments were gathered to determine whether to proceed with a recreation and senior center:
} 1997- Public Meeting held with initial floor plans developed for Person County’s first Recreation Center
} February 22, 2005- Helena, public meeting for recreational needs
} March 1, 2005- County Auditorium, public meeting for recreational needs
} March 8, 2005- Bethel Hill, public meeting for recreational needs
} March 17, 2005- County Auditorium, public meeting for recreational needs
} November 2008- Official Person County Election Ballot, Majority voted Yes to authorize the borrowing of funds to build the Recreation Senior Center, not to exceed $6M
} May 2, 2012 - Public meeting at Huck-Sansbury to receive input into design
} May 9, 2012 – Public meeting at the Senior Center to receive input from seniors only
} May 31, 2012 – Public meeting at County Office Building to receive input
} Aug. 6, 2012 – Presentation to County Commissioners, received public comments
} Aug. 22– Sept. 5, 2012 – Plans displayed at Senior Center and Huck-Sansbury for input and comments from the public
} Sept 13, 2012 – Public meeting at Senior Center to receive input from seniors only about changes incorporated into the plans
} Sept. 17, 2012 – Presentation to the County Commissioners, public comments solicited
} Dec. 3, 2012 – Board meeting, public comments solicited
As a result of public comments received, the Recreation and Senior Center concept has transformed from a limited-use opportunity venue to a multiple-use opportunity facility.
The Huck-Sansbury location was decided upon after much deliberation and a thorough vetting of many potential locations. A professional feasibility study was commissioned to explore all potential sites. Below is a list of some of the sites that were considered and the estimated cost of building the center at each:
- Huck-Sansbury: $3.7M
- Critcher / Wilkerson Roads property: ~$10M
- Current Uptown Senior Center site: ~$10M (assuming no land purchase costs) (building was found to have numerous NC Building Code violations)
- Former warehouse now occupied by Strutt Masters: ~$8M-$10M
The projected cost of the Huck-Sansbury location is significantly less than the other options. The primary reason for the cost-savings is that the Huck-Sansbury location only requires remodeling and expansions to the existing facility. In addition, existing staff will run most of the proposed Huck-Sansbury facility; whereas a new location would require an entirely new team of staff. Not only is the Huck-Sansbury site centrally located, but it is also the most cost-effective location. Finally, the Huck-Sansbury location is the only location that falls within the $6M maximum for General Obligation bond financing approved by the voters in 2008.
These additional locations have also been considered in years past:
- Longhurst Mill
- Hwy. 501 location
- Property near Roxboro Community School and Rail Road Intersection
- Property across from National Guard Armory adjacent to former car lot
- Property between Roxboro Sports Plex and Southern Middle School
- Property near Current Solar Park on Hwy. 501 north
- Property located near Piedmont Community College
- Roxboro Country Club Golf Course
- Property near Dialight Inc. on Industrial Drive
Any of these locations will be more expensive than the estimated $3.7M needed to upfit the Huck-Sansbury site. The Huck-Sansbury location is the most fiscally responsible location.
The Senior Center portion of the proposed Recreation and Senior Center at the Huck-Sansbury site will occupy approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of space in the existing annex building (formerly Social Services). The 10,000 sq. ft. of space will include 9,200 sq. ft. of renovated space and 800 sq. ft. of new construction. The center will have a large 2,000 sq. ft. dining area with a warming kitchen located adjacent to the dining area. Also included are two large activity areas that can be divided into four activity rooms with the use of folding partitions. The seniors will have a large 1,500 sq. ft. exercise area, a 700 sq. ft. lobby with attached computer lounge. Other features include a covered drop off area and outdoor patio space. The center will also house the Senior Center administrative offices. In addition to these spaces the Senior Center attendees will have access to the entire proposed facility.
Some of the proposed features on the Recreation center side include a swimming facility with attached locker room and showers, splash zone, indoor walking track, large flex room, large exercise area, lounge and reception desk. The proposed recreation facility will also connect the existing gymnasium to allow for indoor access to all amenities. The proposed swimming pool will be 6 lanes wide, competition length at 25 yards (75’-1”), and meet NCAA specifications for required depth. It will also double as a large aerobic swimming pool for an assortment of aerobic possibilities for all age groups. The splash zone is intended to have over 1,200 sq. ft. of spray area and occupy an area of approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space. The proposed indoor walking track will be covered with rubber flooring in an open feeling environment, fully climate controlled, and exceeding 100 feet in length.
Appealing to Superior Court
At the September 23, 2013 Commissioners’ meeting, the Board of Commissioners voted to move forward with an appeal of the City’s Board of Adjustment decision to deny an amendment to an existing conditional use permit that would allow the proposed changes needed to construct the Recreation and Senior Center at the Huck-Sansbury location. The appeal process begins in Superior Court. The Superior Court Judge can decide whether to uphold the Board of Adjustment’s decision or send the request back to the Board of Adjustment for a re-hearing. If the request is sent back to the Board of Adjustment for a re-hearing it could be amended or denied again. If the City’s Board of Adjustment denies the request again, then the County may appeal to Superior Court again. Upon the second appeal, the Superior Court Judge could decide to remand the amendment to the Board of Adjustment with a requirement to accept the amendment.