LAURINBURG — City council will get its first look at the county’s highly anticipated recreation center in the coming weeks.
County Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Graham will have drawings to present to council of what the building might look like. In the meantime, Graham played two videos of potential ideas for Scotland County’s first recreation center on Tuesday.
Graham featured a multi-generational center in Arizona and a water park in South Carolina to demonstrate what other parks and recreation departments have done.
“This is a multi-generation center,” Graham said. “This is for every age (group). We want it to benefit everyone in the community.”
Apache Junction in Arizona includes a gym, walking track, basketball courts and classrooms while Otter Creek is a water park in Greenville, South Carolina.
Graham wants Scotland County’s multi-generation center to expand upon the Splash Pad by adding an Olympic-sized pool and water slides, which he hopes will bring in additional tourism.
“We don’t want to build an amenity that is good for just 2018, we want something that’s good for the future,” Graham said. “We want people to come and travel to spend their tourism dollars here.”
Council’s main concern revolved around the cost of the recreation center and how it would be funded.
Graham said once the drawings were complete the architect could provide an estimated cost for the project. From there, parks and recreation would look into various funding options.
In other business, council unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for a solar array on Rea Magnet Road. The permit was requested by Aberdeen Farms, the company that owns the land. Strata Solar will be responsible for the installation and management of the array.
The solar array will take around three to four months to build and will be controlled by a remote creating next to no traffic once it’s completed. The estimated cost to construct will be between $10 million to $15 million, including equipment and payroll.
Three representatives from the company — attorney Tom Terrell, appraiser Thomas Hester and an engineer attended Tuesday’s meeting to answer questions.
Terrell assured council the solar farm is safe and Hester noted it would not decrease property values in the surrounding neighborhood.
Council member Mary Evans asked how the project would benefit the city. Terrell said benefits include using local companies to hire around 100 temporary workers for the construction of the solar farm.
“Tax base goes up with it, it’s taxed at a much higher rate,” Terrell said. “You’re getting what the rest of the state of North Carolina you’re getting away from the use of nuclear energy, coal, and getting cleaner energy out of it.”
The representatives also assured the council that the farm will not be visible from any main roads. The 44-acre plot slated for the array is located on the back corner of a 380-acre parcel of land.
Council also heard several budget requests from Terry Gallman, chair of the Arts Council, who asked for $7,500 and Chris English, executive director of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, who asked for $14,000.
The Arts Council’s request is the same amount the organization requested last year. The money will be dispersed to general support membership, $1,500; assistance with Christmas on Main, $1,500; facility support, $1,500; arts education, $1,000; and organization and planning for Spring Arts Fest, $2,000.
The chamber requested an additional $1,000 from last year’s allotment in order to move Laurinburg After Five from the James L. Morgan Complex into downtown. The other $13,00 will be spent on membership investment, $2,500; GREEN team committee, $1,250; governmental affairs, $2,500; the annual Christmas parade, $1,500; Oyster Roast Sponsorship, $1,500; Laurinburg After Five Sponsorship, $3,000; business directory, $250; and $1,500 for the annual meeting sponsorship.
Council also agreed to use extra funds to purchase a 22-foot tall pre-lit artificial Christmas tree with an LED star tree-topper at a cost of nearly $15,000.
‘Tis the Season asked that the city purchase the tree earlier this year. The city will install the tree onto a pad into the Art Garden prior to the start of the holiday season and ‘Tis the Season will decorate it.
The council set a tentative date for a budget workshop on June 5 at 6 p.m. and a public hearing to consider the 2018-19 budget for the next council meeting on June 19 at 7 p.m.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171