Use ex-Walmart, former EC High School for senior center


Mike Barkley

Thursday, May 9, 2019

As a lifelong native of Elizabeth City, I have seen many changes. Some have been good and some not so much. I remember the old coal yard by the Riverside bridge, the Esso bulk plant and a second-grade classmate's life taken on the shipyard property. Today, it is good to see all the construction on Water Street.

I have a problem with the proposed senior center at The Daily Advance building. Access, an elevated crosswalk, extra parking in a lot that would need costly improvement for elderly access — these are a few of the issues that concern me. The building also has a second story. What would that be used for? Also, what would be the cost to change the building for senior use?

There is also the issue of lost tax revenue to the city and county. With all the construction on Water Street, a nice building like the one currently occupied by the newspaper would be attractive for a private business of some kind.

Why not use a one-story building like the former Walmart at Port Elizabeth Centre for the senior center? It has plenty of parking, easy access and could even be leased so that there is no lost tax revenue. It might spur a renewal in that area.

Another idea would be to use the former Elizabeth City High School annex. I understand it is to be torn down, so why not build a new building there so seniors could use the old gym there as well? If it’s not torn down, couldn't it be renovated?

One more thought: $1.5 million would go a long way on the shipyard project. This would be "the new EC!"

Mike Barkley

Elizabeth City

Editor’s note: JKF Architecture, the Greenville firm the city hired to study turning The Daily Advance building into a senior center, has estimated the project will cost about $555,000, about $205,000 more than city and county officials first estimated. Officials are now looking for ways to cut those costs.