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Nolan Park Recreation Center debuts makeover

By: Jefferson Weaver, The News Reporter

The Nolan Park Recreation Center took a bad hit during Hurricane Matthew.

Floors were ruined after the roof was damaged, adding to years of moisture damage and ordinary wear and tear.

Paint was faded, dirty and peeling. The good news was that insurance and federal disaster funding were available to help the city repair and improve the structure.

Whiteville Parks and Recreation officials debuted the newly-renovated gym Tuesday during an open house. “We’re proud of it,” said Parks and Rec director Blake Spivey.

City Council and staff got an early look at the center Tuesday, and City manager Darren Currie said he was impressed.

“This belongs to the people of the city,” he said, “and I think they have something here we can all be proud of.”

The centerpiece of the renovation was the aging gym floor. Currie noted that City Councilman elect Tim Collier first discussed the floor with Currie when Collier was still Parks director, and Currie had just started work for the city.

“This has been a concern for years,” Currie said.

The new flooring material is made of individual tiles that lock together similar to Lego block toys, Spivey explained.

“If one gets too damaged, we just take a putty knife, pry it up and put in a replacement,” he said.

Several members of the city council were concerned that a severe weather event such as Matthew would damage the floor. Spivey said the tiles are “reasonably water resistant,” and if the gym were to flood again, repairs would be simple.

“The company comes in, picks up the tiles, rolls up the underlayer, and lets it dry for a few days,” he explained. “Then you just put the floor back down.”

Sport Court, the manufacturer of the floor, is a leading manufacturer of low maintenance athletic facility floors in the county. While researching a new floor for the gym, Spivey said, he and Programs Coordinator Charlotte Almada visited a similar gym in Clinton to see what the Sport Court product offered.

“It is really amazing,” Spivey said.

The center of the court features a handpainted copy of the city seal, which was painted at the Sport Court plant in Minnesota, disassembled, then installed here.

“This was the most detailed center circles the company has done,” Spivey said, “and they plan to use this in some of their promotional materials.”

While the floor was main attraction Tuesday, the rest of the building also has a new look, with fresh paint, better lighting and a number of poststorm repairs. The cost for the project was $150,000.

Spivey said he hopes the new look will increase use of what is already a busy facility.

“We wanted the people who use the gym and rec center to have something they could take pride in,” he said.

The center will be open for all its regular activities within a few weeks.