Renovation for community center could move a step closer

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

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If Rocky Mount City Council members follow the advice of the city manager tonight, the $1.7 million South Rocky Mount Community Center renovation will move one step closer to construction.

According to the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting, Oakley Collier Architects were hired in 2013 to design the project and company staff has spent nearly a year developing a plan to fix maintenance issues, and reconfigure and add on to the more than 30 year old center.

In addition to major work such as asbestos removal, roof repairs, a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and gymnasium floor, Tim Oakley and Ann Collier of Oakley Collier Architects said the renovations would open the center up for more engagement within the community and repurpose the existing space to be better utilized.

“The completion of the renovations to the South Rocky Mount Community Center and surrounding areas will truly transform the neighborhood,” Oakley said in a letter to the city.

Also on the meeting agenda is an appeal hearing regarding housing code enforcement of a property on the 100 block of Tarboro Street.

Officials said city inspectors determined the structure and associated debris “constitutes a life safety and health hazard to the downtown area.”

The property was condemned in February, but the property owner requested time to remedy the issues. Officials said no progress has been made and the owner requested an appeal to the order, which was granted and will be conducted by the City Council.

There also are orders against 20 properties for the assessment of $94,600 worth of demolition and code enforcement costs. Also on the agenda is an assessment contract with the owner of a property on the 1500 block of Benvenue Road who reportedly wants to replace a failed septic tank by connecting to the city’s sewer system. Officials said the property owner agreed to prepay for $500 of sewer services and allow $2,575 to be assessed against the property for sewer capacity and main fees.