Future of New Bern recreation center remains uncertain

Local

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Tuesday night a New Bern Board of Aldermen meeting left residents with more questions than answers over the future of the Stanley White Recreation Center.

The center has been closed for over a year after flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Right now, the parking lot is empty, and the doors are locked.

“If this was a $50,000 problem we would have fixed it a year ago,” said Mayor Dana Outlaw.

The building sustained serious flood damage after it took on 3 to 4 feet of water.

“This is potentially a 6 to 10 million dollar problem, and when you’re talking about that kind of money it can severely impact the financial stability of our city if we don’t make sure we do it the right way,” said Outlaw.

Tuesday night, the New Bern Board of Aldermen unanimously voted on a resolution in support of re-building the recreation center in the same location.

“There’s been a lot of mental trauma on our city,” said Outlaw. “The citizens spoke loudly last night, and we want them to be happy.”

Residents say the recreation center is a positive force in the community, and it’s closure has been hard on kids in the area.

“It keeps [kids] out of trouble. It keeps them off the streets. It keeps them occupied,” said Linda Tripp, a long-time resident of New Bern. “The kids are wondering, you know, what’s going to happen? The adults are wondering what is going to happen.”

Mayor Outlaw said for now the City of New Bern is waiting on FEMA, and they don’t have a specific time frame of when the Stanley White Recreation Center will reopen.

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