City eyes two locations for community center
by Jack Latta
PRESTONSBURG - Two proposed locations for a future community center were among the topics discussed during Monday’s Prestonsburg City Council meeting.
City officials have been working through tentative plans to build a 40,000 to 65,000 square foot facility in Prestonsburg which would include a swimming pool, basketball courts, meeting and party rooms, an arcade, a concession stand, a day care center, a common area forum and rock climbing wall, as well as fitness area, racquetball courts and an indoor walking track.
During the meeting, council member Les Stapleton said that he had talked to officials with Big Sandy Community and Technical College, and that they were interested in partnering with the city to build the center, as well as providing a location for the building on their campus.
The site discussed would place the new center next to the East Kentucky Science Center.
Council members agreed that a core sample would need to be taken at the site by an engineering group before they could commit to the location. The area in question has acted as a rain water drain and was noted during the meeting to be considerably soft.
The city has also been looking at the location of the former Prestonsburg Elementary School, though the price to purchase the site is considerable, and also would require the same engineering core samples, as well as needing to be elevated out of the flood plain.
Cliff Latta with Vaughn and Melton Consulting suggested the city could possibly save on the land costs by only taking the portion of the property needed for the center, and allowing the remaining property which fronts North Lake Drive to be sold and developed commercially.
Mike Vance, the city economic development head, said that George Edwards with BSCTC had told him that the college would be interested in partnering with the city at either location.
The proposed center plans for the downtown site also include space for an amphitheater as well as wraparound parking for 70 or 80 cars. The building itself would be elevated 8-to-12 feet above North Lake Drive to get it out of the floodplain, creating another 20,000 square feet for additional parking or an archery range on the ground level of the facility.
Also during Monday’s meeting City Council members recognized Henry Young for his years of service to the community teaching gymnastics at Archer Park. Young was presented with a key to the city.
Thursa Slone and Carolyn Ford both asked the city council to look into ongoing concerns in the Lancer area concerning possible health risks. Both Ford and Slone said that there are site issues with stop signs being obscured by trees, abandoned homes drawing river rats into the neighborhood, mosquito holes, and an that the lack of visibility at the intersection of Cooley Drive and South Lake Drive has caused a number of recent accidents.
A second reading of a proposed annexation of property along US 23 and Route 80 was read and approved by the city council.
B.D. Nunnery was the only council member not present during Monday’s meeting.
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