A study to gauge community interest in an indoor community/recreation center in Scotland County will begin next week with phone and online surveys.
Included in the survey will be questions about general interest in a community center, location preference and potential activities that the center could host.
Also included in the survey will be questions about funding. Researchers will begin work on Monday,
“At some point people will have to pay for this, so it is important that we get their opinion,” said Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker.
The city of Laurinburg is partnered with Scotland Health Care System and the Scotland County Recreation Foundation in funding the study.
Beyond addressing funding the construction of the center, the survey will also address the sustainability of the project.
“As I understand it there may be a rate structure that people would pay monthly, and we need to figure out if that is enough to make the project sustainable. I’m not sure if people understand yet that in addition to funding construction, we will also need to fund the day-to-day operations,” Parker said.
Parker favors the project as long as it can be done “without raising taxes or a significant tax increase.”
“It would add to our quality of life and be a good thing, but we don’t want to build it on a whim and find out that there aren’t enough interested people.”
Pending the results of the study, the community center could take the form of a gymnasium and recreation centered facility or more of a civic and public event hosting capacity.
The survey will be conducted by “TTC Research” and will result in what Shannon Newton director of Scotland County Parks and Recreation called “statistically accurate information that reflects the desires of the community.”
“If you receive a call from TTC Research, please take the time to answer the questions,” Newton said.
Those people not called are invited to complete the survey online by visiting scotlandcounty.org and clicking on the “Parks and Recreation” link on the main page. The survey will also be available online at the Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
Upon completion of the study, organizers will hold a public meeting this fall to discuss the results as well as to present a drawing of a community center proposal.
Laurinburg’s city council voted four months ago to provide $8,833.33 for the study, a third of the total cost of $26,500. The rest of the funds were provided by the other partners.
A number of groups have attempted to proceed with a community center project in the past, but because of the extensive funding involved none have been successful. Plans for the current community center project were first mentioned approximately four years ago.
The study is the result of a community partnership that Parker hopes will continue in the future.
“Without a doubt, to make projects like this viable in our community we need people to buy in from different organizations,” Parker said.