By Clint Parker
Weaverville – The skies were overcast, but the people gathered at the site of the old Lake Louise Community Center were in good spirits as the Weaverville Town Council broke ground on the new community center.
Just days after the council approved a $2.9 million-plus design, along with choosing a construction firm, Goforth Construction, to build the facility, the board wanted to make it official with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Weaverville Mayor Al Root, in opening ceremony remarks, said it was a “tough decision” to tear down the old community center that held so many memories for town residents. He then thanked former Weaverville Council Member John Penley, who now lives in Florida and was not present at the event. “He had tough decisions to make. He helped us make them. What he did was best for the town of Weaverville.” The entire town council then took a ceremonial shovel full of dirt and tossed it as they broke ground on the new facility. Mayor Al Root also opened up the Leaders of tomorrow performance at the 2nd annual MLK Day event.
After the ceremony Root was asked what he thought the new community center would mean for the citizens of the town, “I think it means they have a building that is their home to come to for their club activities, if there’s something they want to get together and talk about, or frankly, some may want to come to and hang out,” Root told the Tribune. “There will be recreational facilities for them. I fully expect there will be internet capabilities for them here. I want it to be a place for folks to come and meet each other and be a community.”
“It was a really good crowd given the short notice,” said Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey about the gathering. “I think this shows that folks in the community, very close to us, are excited…that’s very telling.”
Asked about the effort to get to this groundbreaking, Coffey explained, “It’s been my understanding that it has been stop and go on building the community center for at least five, six years…So now town council approved the bid on Monday night and we wanted to turn some dirt as soon as possible to start the process.” She expects construction to begin in earnest by the first of March.
The event did not go unnoticed by the Dry Ridge Museum Board, who just last year lost its long-time home in the Weaverville Library. The museum will have a permanent home inside the new community center. “This is the most thrilling day we may have had in 38 years! A new beginning and we’re just over the moon,” said Jan Lawrence of the Dry Ridge Museum Board.