03/02/10 — City mulls over offer of former Moose Lodge for Rec Center site

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City mulls over offer of former Moose Lodge for Rec Center site

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 2, 2010 1:46 PM

Members of the local Moose Lodge made an offer to the Goldsboro City Council Monday, saying they had an idea that would cut the cost of the proposed Recreation Center project.

Claude David said the organization is willing to sell the city its facility -- a building located on 10 acres near the intersection of Mulberry Street and U.S. 117 -- which includes a large hall with a stage, social area, large kitchen, meeting room, "one of the larger pools in Wayne County," a baseball diamond, tennis and basketball courts -- for $800,000.

"My purpose is to come before you all ... and offer it to you as a possible site for that Recreation Center," David said. "The only problem is (the grounds) are long in the tooth. They are in need of repair."

But taking the group up on its offer, he added, would be a "good value" for the city -- despite the need for improvements at the site.

"You can see for yourself," David said. "It's superior construction."

Mayor Al King remembers when the Moose Lodge was a popular meeting ground for residents young and old.

But even though he assured David that a discussion would be had regarding the offer, he said later that he was not sure turning the Moose Lodge into the Recreation Center was the right move.

City Manager Joe Huffman expressed similar views this morning and said the timing of the offer -- bids for construction of the facility along Center Street are expected to come in by the end of the month -- also presents problems.

"I don't know about uses (for the Moose Lodge) yet. I guess one of the considerations would be the structural integrity of the building, the appropriateness of the location, future plans for U.S. 117 and probably many other issues that must be addressed," Huffman said. "It will take some time to analyze and we have to consider timing. To me, it seems best to see how our bids look once they are in.

"We have been working on this for over five years, so I am thinking that stopping the process to consider other buildings as they become open to the market could cause us to delay unnecessarily. "I am not saying we shouldn't look at viable options. Rather, I am thinking that we should not stop the process every time someone who owns a building seeks to market it as a municipal option."