Allan Farris Community Center Documents
Several years ago, an advisory group was formed with interested stakeholders who provided critical input to the City Council on the City’s recreation department programmatic needs. These stakeholders include representatives of the local school system, local government, citizen groups such as the Little Theatre Group, Women’s Club, Optimist, American Legion, Boys & Girls Clubs and the Bessemer City Merchants Association to name a few. As a result of this effort, it was determined that the City really needed to update its 1970s-era community center in order to provide the space for community events and programs to meet current needs in the community that will serve seniors and low and moderate income residents.
Thus, a process commenced to seek funding for such a project. With the assistance of consulting firm Martin-McGill, the City embarked on a process to prepare a CDBG Catalyst grant application. The application was successful and the City received a $500,000 award to help offset costs of the $1.2 million rehabilitation project. Construction is finishing up in June 2016.
Local government has decided that the rehabilitated community center will be programmed to respond to the most acute community needs. The renovated, multi-use facility will benefit all age groups, but it will pay special attention to residents who are low to moderate income. Residents of this community need a combination of recreational activities and self-help opportunities to improve their quality of life. It is widely known that young people need something to do, but it is also true that seniors and other adults can benefit from a flexible, multi-use facility that can offer a range of activities that are open to the public. The rehabilitated community center will bring diverse user groups together to assist in the revitalization of this small, rural community.
Bessemer City successfully renovated and expanded the existing 5,000+ square foot facility in the City Park and Recreation Center that is redesigned and equipped to offer numerous activities at the same time for different groups. The park is strategically located so that its activities are within walking distance of several low income neighborhoods, bringing those residents even closer to the hub of local activity. The upgraded facility has a large multi-purpose meeting space capable of arrangements for auditorium or banquet style, a renovated kitchen, administrative offices, and a computer room.
City Council believes that this community center will have a positive impact on the entire community.
About CDBG Catalyst Funding
The North Carolina Catalyst Program (NC Catalyst for short) offered non-entitlement municipalities the opportunity to tailor a project to meet the community development needs specific and most critical to their locality, primarily for their low- and moderate-income residents. In 2012, the state of North Carolina received $5 million in Catalyst funding, of which Bessemer City was awarded the maximum grant amount of $500,000. The CDBG program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and fair housing principles apply to recipient communities. For more information about fair housing initiatives, please visit HUD’s website. Bessemer City’s Fair Housing & Complaint Procedure can be accessed here. For more information, please contact James Inman, City Manager.