Rental fees for the new Mary C. Jenkins Community and Cultural Center have been approved at affordable rates in its first year of operation, city officials said.
In considering rental rates, Rosenwald Advisory Board members recommended that the city levy reduced hourly rental rates for use of the new common room, meeting rooms, outdoor patio, and commercial kitchen on the property to make the new center more accessible to individuals and non-profit organizations do groups, local organizations and companies looking for venues for events.
“Ultimately, we had to think about the people in the community, because before this new building was there, the community center was owned by the people who lived in that community,” said Councilman Maurice Jones, who is also co-chair of the Rosenwald advisory board. “In order to scale it where everyone had the opportunity to use it, we thought it best to cut those fees in half.”
As approved Monday night during the council meeting, individuals and nonprofit organizations pay $25 per hour to reserve the common room for the first year of the center’s operations, and the rental rate for organizations and businesses is $40 per hour. Each of the two smaller meeting rooms is free to use during the center’s regular hours (Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.), but a $100 deposit is required for meeting rooms outside of these hours . Exclusive use of the outdoor patio during business hours is an additional $25 per hour and reservation of the kitchen is $50 per hour when the appliances are used for meal preparation. A deposit of USD 100 is required to reserve the larger common room in the center. The center’s occupancy and rental rates are reviewed annually as part of the City Council’s annual budget process.
“This is kind of an experiment, but it’s to ensure that people who live in the Rosenwald community can use this community center,” Councilman Gary Daniel said in reference to next year’s rate structure review. “We’ll see how it goes.”
An open house at the center is scheduled for Saturday October 15th and the grand opening of the center is scheduled for Saturday October 22nd. Reservations for events are possible from October 24th. For more information about the center see www.marycjenkins.org/.
Project sewer pumping station
The Council also unanimously approved a sewage pump refurbishment and replacement project at Fish Camp Pumping Station, Gallimore Pumping Station and Wilson Road Pumping Station to improve reliability, efficiency and overall operations at these sites.
Last month, engineering and construction company CDM Smith secured $2,873,000 in federal grants for the project, and on Monday night the City Council approved Wilson Hooper to negotiate a $77,000 design contract with CDM Smith for engineering services on the project.
“We received money from the state, a 100 percent grant, to do one of our infrastructure updates. We don’t have to contribute any of our tariffs, we don’t have to contribute any of our general fund taxes for this purpose. It’s funded entirely by the state,” Hooper said. “It gives us a platform to do some of the deferred maintenance and stuff that we couldn’t afford in the past.”
“This has to be done,” Jones said. “Those who live in these areas and drive past these areas understand what it’s like when it rains heavily. I’m just delighted that we can get full funding for this project from the NC State Water Infrastructure Authority. That is good news.”
Jonathan Rich can be reached at (828) 883-8156 or email [email protected]