Town Breaks Ground on Recreation Center
Town of Garner elected officials, staff and dignitaries broke ground Oct. 19 on the Garner Recreation Center, to be located at the corner of Main and Montague streets in historic downtown Garner.
The nearly 40,000-square-foot facility will include a gymnasium with three regulation-size high school basketball courts, a raised, indoor exercise/walking track, aerobics/fitness, art and multipurpose rooms and administrative offices for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources staff. Outdoor features will include a multi-purpose field, open gathering and play spaces, reading and seating areas and multi-use paths for walking, jogging and biking.
The budget for the project is approximately $8.8 million. The center is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“This center is highly anticipated. It has been a long time coming,” Mayor Ronnie Williams said. “It will be accessible to all members of our community, and it will enable our Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department to significantly expand its already-stellar programming.”
“The new recreation center will be a true asset to this community,” said Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Director Sonya Shaw. “This state-of-the-art facility will provide much-needed space for our growing athletic leagues, camps and fitness programs. With the addition of three, high school-size gymnasiums, the department can now host various athletic tournaments that will bring visitors to the area and create a positive economic impact for local businesses.”
In 2009, a major corporate partner, ConAgra, demonstrated its support to build a public recreation facility by donating $2.5 million to the Town, with the goal of providing recreational opportunities to all of Garner’s residents. ConAgra donated the funds due to the Town’s and the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department’s continued assistance to company employees and managers immediately following the explosion at the ConAgra Garner facility.
In 2013, Garner voters overwhelmingly supported Parks and Recreational Bonds, which included $3.9 million for a new recreation center.
In, 2015, the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority, established by the N.C. General Assembly, awarded the Town a $217,500 grant to go toward construction of the center. The Town also received a $210,000 grant from the John Rex Endowment to add safe crosswalks at intersections leading to the center, along with funding to support a staff person responsible for implementing healthy snack options for program participants.
The Town selected Clark, Patterson, Lee of Raleigh to design the center, and Kimley Horn was chosen as civil and structural engineer. Pro Construction of Jacksonville is the general contractor for the project.
ABOUT THE GARNER BOND PROGRAM
The Parks and Recreational Bonds that are partially funding the Garner Recreation Center were supported by 70 percent of voters in a townwide election in March 2013. Similarly large majorities supported three other bond referendums in that special election.
The Town has built—or will build—a number of other projects as a result of its ambitious bond program, including a new police station and Town Hall on 7th Avenue, dog parks in Garner Recreational and Lake Benson parks, dugout covers and new concessions buildings at ballfields in South Garner and Garner Recreational parks and sidewalks in several parts of town including downtown. More information about the Garner Bond Program is available at garnerbonds.com.