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City Council OKs larger of two buildings for complex’s soccer area

The new concessions/restrooms building at the soccer area of the Susie Gray McConnell Sports Complex will be the larger of two options the Washington City Council considered during its meeting Monday.

The council voted 4-1 to award a $126,077contract to Paul Woolard Construction to construct the new facility. Voting to award the contract were council members Richard Brooks, Virginia Finnerty, William Pitt and Roland Wyman. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against awarding the contract.

Tom Anglim, a spokesman for the Optimist Club of Washington, which operates a youth soccer program that uses the soccer area, told the council the club would add an additional $5,000 to the $15,000 it had already raised as its contribution to the project. Originally, the city budgeted $75,000 for the project. Other project funding includes $15,295 from the McConnell family and $3,500 from the city’s recreation department. The city puts incurred costs — engineering, disposal of the previous building and relocating electrical utilities — at $5,624.66. To help pay for the larger building, the city will take $17,897 from its fund balance.

The new building would have 1,120 square feet. The alternative building would have 870 square feet. The smaller building that was considered would not have two windows and a service door that the larger building would have

Mercer questioned why the cost per square foot of the smaller building was higher than that of the larger building. Mercer, saying he wanted more detailed information before he could make a decision regarding the two options, suggested tabling the matter until the council’s April 23 meeting.

Patty Peebles, another club representative, preferred an immediate decision so construction of the new building could begin as soon as possible so the new building could be completed by August for its fall soccer program, which is expected to have at least 500 children participating in it. The previous concessions/bathrooms building has been removed, and portable bathrooms are at the soccer area

The council balked at the club’s request to not charge soccer players the fees it charges youth sports participants to use city fields and facilities. Those fees help pay to maintain those facilities. “As part of the proposal we request that the City of Washington not charge our players to use the complex for 5 years and then maintain the $15.00 per player (fee) for the next 5 years to help us recoup the donation that we are making (toward) the new facility,” according to the club’s request.

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.

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