The city is expected to have around $850,000 left over after using slightly more than $2.5 million to retire its deed of trust on the Roanoke Rapids Theatre.
Discussion during Tuesday’s city council work session indicates some of the leftover funds will be used for badly needed repairs at the Kirkwood Adams Community Center.
City Manager Kelly Traynham told the council the $850,000 figure was a very conservative estimate.
The source of the $3.5 million comes from an appropriation in the state budget which was pushed for by state Representative Michael Wray.
As of Tuesday the principal balance of the deed was $2,590,013, Traynham said, plus interest. “Being very, very conservative there’s about $850,000 left to figure out and discuss tonight how we’re going to spend that money. The city has a lot of needs, we have a lot of wants.”
Traynham said the way the state budget was written there was no specific use spelled out. “It is primarily in the encouragement of economic development and things that would make a big difference for the city.”
One of the needs which fits into the scope of the leftover funds is the community center which Traynham said is not only used locally but regionally for events and meetings.
Currently the building needs a new roof which is estimated to cost between $130,000 to $150,000.
There is also the need for a fire alarm system which she said is currently not in working order. “Everytime it is occupied we have a recreation staff member that is working the facility during the event. That person is on fire watch. They make their rounds during an event and should an emergency occur they would be the ones to activate the alarm. It has been a risk and liability.”
Traynham suggested the city set aside $300,000 for Kirkwood for the roof, fire alarm system, and carpeting.
Parks and Recreation Director John Simeon said of the roof, “We have put a Band-Aid on it as much as we can. I can tell you over the last few years when we have a leak we would go up top, and buy a 5-gallon seal. We would do our best to figure out where the leak was and hold it for as long as we can. We’re at a point now where we have standing water up there at all times.”
Simeon said the problem with a flat roof is “just because it leaks here does not mean it goes through the building at that point. It’s hard to identify leaks on a flat roof like that. I recommend the first thing we do is the roof replacement before we do anything on the interior.”
He said if the council approves the appropriation a rubber membrane roof would be used.
Council indicated during the session they were in agreement that repairs to Kirkwood are needed.
Councilman Carl Ferebee said while he didn’t have an issue with designating funds for the civic center, he said he did have an issue “with us not having all the needs that were requested because if we did we could say right now here’s how we’re going to spend the money. I don’t have a problem with designating a certain percentage to the civic center because I know it’s needed.”
Councilman Wayne Smith said he believed the deed of trust should be paid first and then look at the funds to revitalize the community center as well as other needs.
Smith also said he believes there needs to be money appropriated to update the computer system and software at city hall. “I believe we would end up saving money doing that.”
Another need is the elevator at city hall which Traynham said is in dire need of repair. “It’s been out of service for over a year now. We know it’s going to cost $200,000 to $250,000 at least.”
A contractor is expected to come in next week to give the city a comprehensive quote, the city manager said.