ASHEBORO – The Asheboro City Council has agreed to include a Cultural and Recreation Services Operations Center at the Zoo City Sportsplex, after some disagreement.
On Sept. 7, Mayor David Smith presented a letter from Terry's Plumbing and Utilities contractor Terry Tucker, who is completing work on the Zoo City Sportsplex and has offered to build the operations center as a gift.
"His gift to the park at his direct cost," Smith said.
After approving the change order for Terry's Plumbing and Utilities, the council voted to move another $430,250 into the Sportsplex fund for the additions.
Smith said he'd planned to share Tucker's letter during the council's special meeting at the Sportsplex on Aug. 29, but a thunderstorm cut that meeting short. He apologized for surprising council member Bill McCaskill, who said he was against funding new construction until they've paid for the Sportsplex's existing buildings and after they've had time to see what profits the facilities bring.
City Manager John Ogburn and City Engineer Michael Leonard said the building would cost the city around $1.2 million if not for Tucker's offer. Smith said they can use building materials left over from the rest of the project.
The Cultural and Recreation Services Operations Center would be near the main entrance. It would provide office and meeting space for city staff. Ogburn said Sportsplex users could also use the building for check-in.
Finance Director Debbie Reaves said she can pull some funding from the water and sewer fund, but the cost of additional parking and sidewalks will fall on the city.
Council member Charles Swiers asked if the building was considered essential. Leonard said it was, as they need more space for staff to work on-site. They anticipate two or three full-time and up to six part-time jobs at the Sportsplex. The buildings they already approved have been filled with vehicles and equipment for maintenance and safety.
"We do need it to manage the park," Ogburn said.
Swiers said, "If we're going to get this kind of deal, we would be remiss to not take it."
McCaskill reaffirmed his opinion on new construction but abstained from the change order vote once he'd learned about Tucker's offer. He voted for the budget amendments.
Smith said, "I want to see this thing finished. I don't want to keep spending money. But this is an investment we wouldn't see otherwise."
Recreation Services Director Jonathan Sermon also presented the rules and regulations for the Sportsplex and a schedule for fees. Hours of operation will be set for 8 a.m. to sunset. The city council approved the fee schedule and the policies.