Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Summerville’s Parks and Recreation Committee will now be handling ideas for what will be done to the empty National Guard Armory on North Hickory Street.
Councilman Aaron Brown made a motion during the July 9 council meeting to allow Parks and Recreation to figure out what the best use of the Armory should be.
Two members of the public spoke on the Armory during the public comments session of the meeting. Dexcter Mack, president of the District One Civic Association, pushed for the empty building to be turned into a community center.
“Community centers are not just for seniors, not just for kids, not just for families,” he said. “They can offer an enormous variety of educational, social and recreational activities tailored toward what the members’ of the community are interested in.”
Mack listed a variety of things the center could be used for: community potlucks, singles’ night, after-school programs, tutoring, health and wellness exercise classes, crafts, lectures, dances, music performances and more.
“In our community we are currently without a place for our kids to play safely, for adults to drink a cup of coffee while playing a game of checkers, for the local quilting club to catch up on the latest gossip,” he said. “By allowing the building to serve as a community center, we will be well on our way to meeting this need.”
Resident Violet Smith-Saylor, who is part of the Brownsville Civic Association, also addressed the council to express concerns over the state of that building. She said the civic association has entered that building with a building inspector, and the inspector reported it’s filled with asbestos.
“I don’t feel we can bring a program in there because it’s detrimental to the health of our children,” she said.
She said she finds Mack’s idea of a community center to be a great idea, but they can find another location.
“We don’t want the lives of our children to be destroyed due to asbestos,” she said.
After she spoke Councilman Bob Jackson said the town is already familiar with the asbestos, and knows the cost of what it would take to mediate it, and said the town is moving forward with that.
“The asbestos can be mediated and that will be taken care of,” he said. The announcement was met with an applause.