Renovation planned for Carter Neighborhood Center

March 03, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

The Roger Carter Neighborhood Center in Ellicott City is slated for a $1.3 million face-lift next year that would include a two-story addition, new pool, picnic facility and more parking.

"We want to serve senior citizens, adults and teens," said Gary J. Arthur, recreation bureau chief for the county Recreation and Parks Department, which owns the center.

Tomorrow, the Historic District Commission will inspect plans for the building at 3676 Fels Lane.

Built in the early 1950s, the building has served as a jail, maintenance garage and school. It was last renovated 18 years ago when a pool was put in for the recreation center.

Before the latest repairs can start, however, County Executive Charles I. Ecker must include the request in his capital budget, which he submits to the County Council by April 1. If the council approves it, construction could begin late next year.

The plan calls for a two-story addition to be built alongside the existing building, which contains two large rooms on the first floor, and a weight room, office and locker rooms in the basement.

The addition would include a nutrition site for senior citizens, activity and conference rooms, and space for arts and crafts and cooking classes.

The center also would receive a new pool. The existing pool develops cracks every year because it is located above underground springs, Mr. Arthur said. The new pool would be situated 15 feet further to the east.

Parks officials also plan to add 15 to 20 parking spaces in front of the building and construct a tot lot and a group picnic facility on a 1.5-acre plot next door to the center.

The renovation is desperatedly needed, officials said.

"It's just too small for everything," said Dan Whyte, the center's program specialist. He said the weight room is so small that some equipment can't be set up.

During the summer, up to 300 people a week use the center to swim, play volleyball and basketball and attend summer camp.

During the rest of the year, the facility offers a two-hour day care program for three- to five-year-olds, and tutoring on Saturdays for preschoolers. Church groups and unions use the building for meetings.

Mr. Whyte has big plans for the center once the renovation is complete. He wants to provide community-based programs that teach residents about cultural awareness and teach young people how to take full advantage of the center.

"There are some things people want to develop," Mr. Whyte said. But the center is "going to need some expansion work."

In addition to the Roger Carter Neighborhood Center, the Recreation and Parks Department is upgrading a center in the former Kiwanis Park on Route 144 in Ellicott City. That $200,000 project calls for a day care center, fitness area, meeting room and kitchen. It is scheduled for completion by mid-May, Mr. Arthur said.

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