Public gets peek at competing Rec Center plans

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City of New Bern recreation officials discussed the plans with dozens of interested citizens.

NEW BERN – During an ambitious four-hour outreach session Monday afternoon, Foster Hughes, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of New Bern, his staff, and the third-party consulting firm of CPL heard from a variety of residents about what they want – and do not want – from the pending re-build of the Stanley White Recreation Center.

Lots of colorful adhesive dots from attendees indicate a much-desired feature.

More information gathering workshops, including ‘focus groups,’ are tentatively scheduled.

A former flea market and sandwich shop, recently purchased by the city, have been proposed as the site of a new recreation center. The location is not in a flood plain.

The original Center, severely flooded during Hurricane Florence, had a footprint of 18,000 square feet, featuring a single indoor basketball court. One plan calls for a rebuild on the original site, which many say is problematic. Though a new structure would likely be elevated, doing so would add to costs that might otherwise go toward amenities for a brand new, rebuilt Recreation Center.

Many town officials are lobbying for a new, out-of-the-flood-plain site – on land recently purchased by the city and located just 600 feet away from the original building. A new structure there would allow for some 26,000 square feet, featuring two, side-by-side indoor basketball courts, in addition to many other amenities.

New Bern residents who would like to participate in a future focus group should send an email to: hughesf@newbernnc.gov

The existing site is clearly on low ground as seen in this photo taken from the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex.

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