Laurens City Council voted unanimously last night to proceed with the building of a Civic Center, which they plan to construct on a 90-acre tract of land the city owns on Exchange Drive, near City Park. Mayor Brownlee said “We have been working on this for four or five years now, it will be attractive for those visiting the city, good for economic development, anything you can think of can be housed in this type of building, this is a huge step for us.”
A committee of Brownlee, Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Griffin and Councilman Martin Lowry will work to find a contractor and to bring a design back to council. Councilman Lowry said “The old saying of ‘build it and they will come,’ is appropriate here, this will essentially be a community center, not just for recreation, but also for indoor venues. Laurens is starved for a place for a decent size meeting. We are not going to do something that will strap the city, we are fiscally very sound and this is not going to cause a problem or cost the taxpayers any money; it will be built in our growth area near the park, we already own the property and are benefiting from selling trees growing there.”
City Administrator Gary Coleman told council that the bond attorney indicates the $2.2 million could be funded without any new taxes because a previous bond for the Sun Trust building is about to be paid off, and other costs could be paid with hospitality tax revenue.