IOW supervisors support gymnasium renovation

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ISLE OF WIGHT—The renovation of the former Windsor Middle School gymnasium is getting a financial commitment of support. This occurred during the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors meeting this past Thursday.

After some initial reluctance from two members, the board voted unanimously to set aside $100,000 from its capital improvement plan beginning next year. The money would be divided quarterly over the next four years.

Windsor Mayor Carita Richardson spoke to the supervisors earlier in the meeting to explain how the gym could become a community center for the area.

Richardson said she’d like to see would be programs focusing chiefly on youth and senior citizens.

“Those two groups are people who really need programs because of their ages,” she said. “There’s the importance of wholesome programs for youth to be involved in that would keep them away from gangs and away from drugs.”

Richardson would also like for the youth of the town and surroundings to have opportunities to learn skills in dealing with people, and other qualities to achieve success in life.

“With the elderly, they need time to be together, and to have programs to stimulate their brains, which is shown to promote longer, happier and healthier lives,” she said.

Other groups that Richardson said could benefit from a community center include a local quilting club, which goes to Franklin or Suffolk, local churches and the Girl Scouts. A place for workforce development, such the one in Paul D. Camp Community College, could also benefit local industries.

“There are just many, many uses for that building,” she said. “I have a lot of ideas.”

The mayor said the outside of the gym is what really needs the renovation.

The supervisors’ decision of support is a large help, added Richardson, who’s working on asking for grants. She believes the county’s support will aid in her getting those funds.

Chairwoman JoAnn Hall and Carrsville Supervisor Rex Alphin both agreed the community center is a great idea, but questioned where the county could get the money.

Windsor Supervisor Delores “Dee Dee” Darden, who has championed the project, evidently persuaded them by noting her research showed funds would be available.

The board’s commitment in spring to help build a $200,000 ballpark in Smithfield won’t require an immediate use of the CIP money, she said, so there’d be a $25,000 cushion that could go for the gym over the next four years.