Parks And Recreation Director Wants Community Center

Department heads in the Town of Angier outlined what might be called an aggressive schedule of spending needs and possibilities to help the town grow including a new water tank and expansion plans for the parks and recreation program at a budget planning session held Monday night.

The heads of the parks and recreation, police, planning and public works department each told board members what they would like to see in their departments in the coming year and in the more distant future.

Parks and Recreation Director Derek McLean told board members he would like to see the town build a community center as well as additional outdoor facilities. The town does not have a community center.

“Right now the only indoor facility we have to use is the Angier Elementary School,” Mr. McLean said. “The school system is nice to let us use it, but they own the building and we have to plan around their schedule.”

The board did not act on any plans to build the community center. Mayor Lew Weatherspoon said it is a long-range goal.

“I am in favor of a new community center and I would support it, but it is not something we have to have right now,” Mr. Weatherspoon said. “It is definitely something we need in our community.”

The mayor said he particularly likes the idea of combining a community center with a possible YMCA, Boys Club and Girls Club.

Mr. McLean also said there is a need for large pieces of land for more recreational fields. Currently, all parks and recreation outdoor activities are held at Jack Marley Park. That facility was renovated approximately 12 years ago, but space is limited. Angier has one of the fastest-growing parks and recreation programs in the county. Mr. McLean noted that during the spring season sports, activities are held at the park seven days a week.

Mr. McLean said adding more space will not be easy.

“A lot of kids who participate in our programs walk to the park or ride their bikes,” Mr. McLean said. “If we have fields to far outside town we are going to eliminate some of the kids who are participating. We really need land close to the park we have now.”

Mr. McLean said he estimates a tract of at least 10 acres would be needed for a park. He said a tract of 25 acres would be ideal.

Responding to a comment from the audience, board members said they would entertain the idea of leasing a piece of land for a minimal price.

“I can’t speak for the board, but I think that is something we would look at,” Mr. McLean said.

Public Works Director Jimmy Cook also had a long and expensive wish list for board members.

He said there is a desperate need for a new water tower in the Kennebec area which is now in the planning stages. That project will cost in the range of $1.7 million.

Town Manager Coley Price said his office is now authorized only to do only preliminarily research. That includes looking at rates and associated costs which will be presented at a future budget workshop. Once the estimates are presented to the board of commissioners, they would then make a final decision as to whether or not to press forward. He anticipates the board making a final decision about the water tank tentatively at its June budget meeting.

Mayor Weatherspoon said he hopes the project can be completed by the end of the year.

Currently, the town has a large water tank on Dora Street and another storage area on Junny Road. The Dora Street tank  stores approximately 100,000 gallons of water. The new Kennebec tower will be a 250,000-gallon structure that, according to Mr. Weatherspoon, “will benefit the town in the future.”

Police Chief Bobby Hallman said needs for his department include two new vehicles, new uniforms and more money for officers. He said he is competing against Fuquay-Varina where officers make an average of $40,000, significantly more than the average salary in Angier.

“We want to keep the officers we have to protect the people of Angier, but that is getting harder and harder to do all the time,” Mr. Hallman said.

Mr. Price also noted the tight quarters for the police and other departments at town hall. That includes the planning staff which anticipates growth in coming years because of a increasing number of permit requests are expected.

“Everyone is running out of space and that is something we are going to have to put our arms around,” Mr. Price said. Story courtesy The Daily Record