Residents concerned with safety of Casey Center
Buckets on the floor catch rainwater. The roof was fixed eight years ago, but is now leaking again.
City staff and Goose Creek City Council will decide what happens next at the Casey Community Center, located off Old Moncks Corner Road.
The building is used for recreation by children and adults, and offers programs such as gymnastics and painting classes.
Some options discussed at the July 9 council meeting included finding a quick solution to assess and fix the problems at the Casey Center and possibly passing a hospitality tax to build Phase 2 of the Community Center and move the Casey Center’s activities to the new building.
A number of Goose Creek residents voiced concerns about the structure.
“The Casey Center is not operational,” Berkeley County School Board member Shannon Lee said during public comments. “There were buckets catching rainwater.”
Lee said she has three boys that participate in gymnastics at the Casey Center, which she said also has had air conditioning issues. “Before we expand and allow more people in let’s fix what we have and make sure the Casey Center is safe for our students there,” Lee said.
Councilmember Franklin Moore said an engineer was expected to inspect the Casey Center roof soon.
Moore made a motion to give the city administrator the authority to take action to repair the roof. The motion received a second from Councilmember Jerry Tekac but would eventually fail.
Director of Recreation Gary Stuber said the estimated cost for repairs in 2004 was $38,000. He said the estimated cost to rip the roof off is $65,000.
City Administrator Dennis Harmon said a prudent course of action would be to analyze the situation. Harmon said if the repair estimate is more than $10,000 he would not do anything without council’s approval.
“We don’t know how much rust we have on the bolts,” Mayor Michael Heitzler said. “We don't know if the repair is $3,800 or $38,000. I think it’s too soon to make a motion.
“The frustration right now is the timing it’s taking to fix these things,” Councilmember Kimo Esarey said. “We need to fix it so the kids are not playing in water.”
“I think we all know the roof’s bad,” Tekac said. “I think we have neglected our responsibility as council . . . it takes too long to get things done.”
Tekac withdrew his second on the motion, which then failed.
Heitzler said another option would be a special tax district for recreation to include Okatee, Devon Forest, College Park Road and parts of Crowfield.
“I’d like to see city council pass the hospitality tax, bond that money and build phase two of the Community Center, open it, then close the Casey Center and move those programs to the new Community Center,” Heitzler said. “Are we going to pass the hospitality tax and build a recreation center? I don’t know. My colleagues (on council) will decide.
“I will close the Casey Center. Parents, if you think your children are unsafe, take them out. Gymnastics is not that important.”
“There is a backup plan,” Moore said. “If we don’t pass the hospitality tax we’ll patch the roof.”
“I can’t have children in there if it’s unsafe,” Heitzler said. “In hindsight, perhaps we should not have expanded the gymnastics program until we had a building that can handle it.”
Heitzler said the Casey Center was built in 1975 and is past its life expectancy.
“It’s been hard without raising taxes to keep up with the demand for service,” Heitzler said. “The gymnastics program exploded on us unexpectedly. They asked if they could use it. We said it’s not a good facility but they wanted to use it anyway. We repaired it eight years ago so it would last a few more years.”