Jacksonville leaders move forward with revitalizing Jack Amyette Recreation Center

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Jacksonville leaders are moving forward with revitalizing one of the city’s recreation centers damaged by Hurricane Florence.

This week, the city council unanimously approved plans for a new indoor gym at the Jack Amyette Center.

It will allow the city to host more league games like basketball, volleyball, and pickleball.

The plan is to demolish the back of the building where the new gym would be placed and renovate the front half of the facility.

The gym has been closed to the public since the storm with only the front portion open.

“Ever since that building went down from the storm, we hear from people that grow up in that area, and​ live in that area and it makes it very rewarding and meaningful to know that were able to give back to​ the community,” said Susan Baptist, director of recreation services for the City of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville officials are applying for a grant, that will hopefully match what the city is chipping in.

The next step is to begin on a design and finalize the cost-estimate. Baptist says she would love to see these measures completed by the beginning of 2021 and a new facility completed in the next year or two.

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Jacksonville leaders are looking into revitalizing a recreation center in the city. A portion of that facility was damaged because of Hurricane Florence.

The Jacksonville Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of the Jack Amyette Recreation Center. It’s one of four recreation centers in the city.

Part of the rec center remains closed after the storm damaged the building’s roof. As a result, Jacksonville Recreation and Parks were forced to close the indoor gym.

Teens like Terrell Clark and Tavion Golack have been adapting to the changes by playing at the center’s outside basketball court.

“It was like home to me because I used to come here on the weekends and on the weekdays,” said Golack.

The panel recommends a new full-sized gym and basketball court be built.

“I think it’s very important to have a gym [because] that’s the only way you’re going to get better,” said Golack.

Since the storm, committee members have been looking at how to move forward with repairs and upgrades.

“We’ve been really trying to think about what it is we want to do to get back to where it was, what ​ our options are, what can we realistically do with that location,” said Susan Baptist, director of Jacksonville Recreation and Parks.

The committee’s recommendation will go before a city council workshop meeting Tuesday night. Council members will then consider the next steps.

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