WJ: Costs ‘high’ for community center

A community center may not be in West Jefferson’s future anytime soon after all.

Ron Garver, president of the village council, said at Monday’s council meeting that unless some large contributions are made, the community center project might not be financially feasible for the village at this time.

“Unless something else comes up, and we can get some big donations or some types of other funding, it’s looking kind of hard right now to do it,” Garver said.

Garver said the community center committee would meet soon to discuss the operational cost of the facility, which are higher than expected, according to estimates.

“I’m not going to say a lot about that right now, because I don’t like what I’m hearing,” Garver said.

Garver said he hopes phase two of the feasibility study done will be completed by the second meeting in July, when it would be presented to council.

The Fourth of July Streetfest committee has given the council a tent to run a slideshow on what the community center could look like, Garver said.

The slide show will be shown again during an open house at Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library on Wednesday, July 15 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Garver said the two events might not occur if the committee decides that the center is not affordable.

Council discussed a potential community center at length during several meetings this year in February and March. The issue rose following the demolition of Galbreath Hall.

Garver had previously suggested putting an issue on the ballot this year.

Architect Moody Nolan was hired to conduct the feasibility study with the village. Phase two of the study would include determining size, location, funding and a timeline.

Jefferson Township trustees have previously said they would not be interested in joining the village to create a park district for the venture.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council approved a resolution to purchase about 25 acres in West Jefferson and Jefferson Township. The property is located between Converse Park and the railroad tracks.

Mayor Darlene Steele said the property was purchased for a good price of about $7,000 per acre.

Garver said the property was “for future use.”

Steele said Tuesday she is unsure how the property will be used, and whether it will be sold in the future.

Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.