First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - The city won't ask for more federal money for work at the Carolina Civic Center - at least not yet.
Council Erich Hackney made a motion Monday to table the issue until the next City Council meeting to give the Carolina Civic Center's board “more time to tweak” renovation costs. The center needs more extensive renovations than originally thought.
The City Council voted unanimously to delay action on accepting the low bid for renovations to the center. There was no discussion on the issue.
The council, meeting as the Council Policy Committee, voted Wednesday to accept a $1.384 million bid from Ronald Nye Construction for the work, but that needed an official vote on Monday night. Because the work would require the city to seek an additional $750,000 loan to cover the improvements, council members acceptance of the bid would be contingent on the new loan being approved by the USDA and the Local Government Commission. The city has already received a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for about $600,000.
Richard Sceiford, the executive director of the center, attended the meeting, but did not speak. Afterward, he said he believes a renovated center would be a valuable tool in the revitalization of downtown.
“A cultural organization is not a cash cow,” Sceiford said. “What cultural centers, like historic theaters in downtowns, do is they bring bodies downtown … .”
The center has been closed since May for the renovations. The current plan is to reopen it next summer.
“Per the request of the city, we have removed everything that was not bolted down,” Sceiford said. “The seats are bolted down. Everything else has been removed and put into storage. … So we are not doing any programming. We can't, because the heating system is broken and the air conditioning system is broken, so that's where it stands right now.”
In other action, the council voted to ban the possession of chickens inside Lumberton. The city ordinance banned “live poultry of any kind in coops, boxes, cages or in any other manner.” Businesses that are properly permitted are exempt.