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Leland senior center approved to build on old town hall site

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By Brian Slattery

A new Leland Senior Center received a vote of confidence from Brunswick County Board of Commissioners for a building site near the town hall Monday, Aug. 19.

Jim Fish, president and CEO of Brunswick Senior Resources Inc., presented the preliminary plans for the facility to the board members for their approval.  

The design is for a 14,000-square-foot building with 85 to 100 parking spaces.

Fish said the senior center building will match the design of the new Leland town hall, with a hinged layout that will include a glass solarium in the center.

The main features of the floorplan will be the cafeteria and multipurpose room.

“We showed the seniors the plans last week. They were pleased and just asked for some small changes,” Fish said.

Commissioner Frank Williams asked if there were enough parking spaces.

Fish said it should be more than enough, but they wanted a lot of space with several routes in and out of the parking lot for very active times at the senior center, such as when the Meals on Wheels meals are picked up for delivery.

Fish said the town of Leland has also indicated it is willing to assist in the development of the building by sharing in the $80,000 to $100,000 cost of an elevator.

Williams asked what is planned for the original Leland town hall building that sits on the site.

Fish said the town could remove and repurpose the building or tear it down.

Commissioner Pat Sykes asked what lease agreement Leland made for the senior center.

“The lease term is for 100 years. Leland will lease the land for $1 a year for 100 years,” Fish said.

The new senior center would sit at Village Road and Town Hall Drive, on the site of the old Leland town hall building.

“In your opinion, is this (site) the best fit?” Chairman Phil Norris said.

Fish said the senior center board spent considerable time reviewing the location, looking at population growth and other data provided by the town.

“They voted 13-1 to accept it,” Fish said. “In my opinion, it is the best site.”

Fish said he spoke with the seniors again before the meeting and their approval of the site put any question in his mind to rest.

“It sits between two important demographics. The 65 and over demographic resides within four miles south of the location. The 55 and over demographic resides four miles north of the location,” he said. “It is a central location, not just for now, but for how the area grows and ages in the future.”

Williams, the district representative for Leland, said he has heard a lot of good responses about the senior center location.  

“Near the library, and the police department and close to Navassa, I believe it is the right location,” Williams said.

Leland is building its new town hall at the other end of the street, at Town Hall Drive and Old Fayetteville Road. But their town operations are in a building in between the old and new facilities.

Williams asked what Leland planned to do with the current building once the town hall is relocated.

Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman said it will be used as a civic building for groups like the Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Club meetings.

“Many of our Meals on Wheels volunteers come from these groups. I’m excited we’ll have these civic groups across the parking lot,” Fish said.

Construction cost was estimated at $3 million.

“Looking at the cost estimate, it is interesting that it is the exact amount we appropriated. I hope we can see some better numbers (in the final design),” Norris said.

“I think we can sharpen our pencils on that,” Fish said.

Commissioners approved the preliminary architectural plans for the Leland Senior Center unanimously, 5-0.

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.