Demolition of Dover Rec Center Put on Hold - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Demolition of Dover Rec Center Put on Hold

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The rec building at Dover's Dover Park is staying for now. The fate of the building has been up in the air for months.

City planners think the building should be demolished. Dover's Parks, Recreation and Community Enhancement Committee voted in July to do just that. But there was public outcry to rehab the space instead. City council blocked the demolition plan and sent it back to the committee to take another look, which it did this week.

Former Dover city councilman Reuben Salters is leading the charge to keep the rec building.

"The building needs to be preserved for the community, especially for the children," he said.

At the committee meeting held in the building itself, Salters stressed the importance of having a rec center for people east of US 13. Dover has a building at Schutte Park, which is on the other side of town.

Park spacing aside, Dover Parks and Rec and Planning Director Ann Marie Townshend says the fact remains - the building at Dover Park is in bad shape and wasn't serving today's recreation needs.

It's been largely closed to the public since last fall.

"As you can see, it's fairly old," she said. "It was built in 1974. Functionally it's somewhat obsolete. It requires at the very least a new roof, significant upgrade to the HVAC system and other systems in the building. The restrooms aren't handicap accessible."

Townshend says whatever is done needs to be a wise investment for the city. She estimates it would cost $200,000 for rehab and $50,000 for demolition. Both options remain on the table as people who live nearby worry about the park's future.

"If they tear this building down," said Jim Fogell. "There won't be anything to identify the park. The next step would be to get rid of the park, I believe."

"We have interest in all the youth of the city," Salters said. "We want them to be able to recreate, have fun inside during the winter time."

"I think it's a valid discussion to figure out what should be here to serve the public," said Townshend.

The committee voted to have the planning office do a city-wide study of Dover's parks and rec needs and to try to re-open the building for public use in the meantime. Townshend is looking into the feasibility of that. Both the votes will need city council confirmation.

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