Council may authorize BCPAL lease

Published 3:47 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, could authorize the mayor to sign a ground-site lease regarding construction of the Beaufort County Police Activities League’s Aviation, Technology and Fitness Center.

The center will be adjacent to Washington-Warren Airport. Earlier this year, the City Council voted to lease land to BC PAL so it could build a multi-purpose center designed to expose area youth to careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and aviation. There is one specific condition in the lease: the building must have a brick façade that complements the new airport terminal.

BC PAL will pay rent of $10 a year. The lease is for 10 years.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the center is scheduled for Tuesday.

The center’s facilities include, but are not limited to, a simulator room where patrons will learn flight and boating fundamentals, a multipurpose classroom, a fitness center (addressing physical fitness, nutrition and other health-related concerns) and a laboratory where patrons may construct airplane models and other items related to their studies and research. The city’s Airport Advisory Board recommended approval of the center. The proposal has been reviewed and cleared by the N.C. Division of Aviation. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified about the project.

In July, Al Powell, BC PAL president, discussed the center’s mission. The center, once up and running, will be used in conjunction with BC PAL’s summer program and after-school program.

“We integrate aviation and boating. … We expose the kids to all the great opportunities in the aerospace industry, careers and stuff, so they can see that there’s a reason for staying in school, staying out of trouble,” Powell said. The center will expose its patrons to people who have or had careers in aviation-related fields and boating-relating fields, including boat building. “It’s a total-package program. … We’re just giving the kids reasons to dream and hope,” he said.

Powell said it would cost about $188,000 to build the center, which will be housed in a metal building designed to blend in with the new terminal at the airport. To date, BC PAL has raised at least $138,000 of that amount.

Grants to build and equip the center come from several sources. The Winston-Salem Foundation is providing $75,000. The Cannon Foundation is contributing $35,000.

Grady-White Boats is kicking in $15,000. A $160,000 grant from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund is providing $160,000, but that money is earmarked for program expenses. Beaufort County United Way is helping fund the project, Powell noted.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “City Agendas.” Locate the appropriate agenda (by date) under the “Washington City Council” heading, then click on that specific agenda listing.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike