Marked Tree council commits $35,000 to Carver Gym renovation

Thursday, September 24, 2015

After hearing from representatives from the Carver Gym committee Monday night, the Marked Tree City Council agreed to commit $35,000 from the Capital Building and Improvements Fund to act as a base while the committee works on grant applications for the renovation of Carver Gym.

Louis Bailey and Larry Teague, representing the Carver Gym committee put together by Mayor Mary Ann Arnold, spoke to the council about the cost of repairing the gym. They said the estimates they got from an architect are $553,000 to renovate and repair Carver Gym and $948,000 to put up a new gym. Teague said the gym needs to be brought up to code, which will involve plumbing work, electrical work, replacing the wood bleachers with either metal or a composite material, and roof repairs including fixing the pitch of the roof so it drains properly. Water damage from the leaking roof has ruined most of the wooden structures in the building, such as the bleachers and the stage area.

Teague and Bailey said in order for the committee to move forward and apply for grants to renovate the gym, they needed the city to commit money to the project. Grant applications for big projects generally have a better chance if the applicant has money that has already been committed to the project.

"We're not asking for a sales tax increase," Teague said. "We're asking for private donations. We have to have a starting point." The committee's plan is to raise money through grants, auctions, private donations, and volunteers to get Carver Gym up to code so it can be reopened. Bailey said the committee will be collecting data on what businesses and volunteers will donate to help, and this information will be included in the grant applications.

"Whatever you allocate, we're going to take that and build on it," Bailey told the council.

Alderman Jerry Jones made a motion to commit $35,000 from the Capital Building and Improvements fund. The vote passed 4-3. The vote only needed a simple majority to pass rather than a two-thirds majority vote of 5-3 which is required for resolutions or ordinances.

Read the full story in the Sept. 24 issue of the Poinsett County Democrat Tribune or read the paper digitally.

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