Lumberton Civic Center Renovations a Go

Wilmington, NC – The vote came down to 4-4, with mayor Ray Pennington breaking the tie in favor of accepting a $1.5 million loan to fund renovations to the Center.

Civic Center Executive Director Richard Scieford estimate nearly 50 people showed up to support his group.

The Lumberton City Council and the Center's Board of Directors spent the last two months working out financial details for repayment of the low-interest USDA loan and increasing the project's contingency fund to address possible cost overruns on the project.

Scieford says that after all the delay, he's ready to move forward.

"Now we get back to work," he said, "and we plan for the success of the Carolina Civic Center."

The Civic Center's Board is pledged to contribute $15,000 annually over the forty years of the loan. Sceiford says the group will look at more ways to raise revenue from the Center.

According to Sceiford, that could include "more concession stands in the building and access to the second and third floors so we could either rent out or find things like the coffee house concept that might bring in revenues."

Annual loan payments for the Center will be roughly to $78,000 dollars a year.

The four council members who voted against the loan cited the city's already-precarious finances and questioned whether the Center will serve the entire community.

Renovation work on the Civic Center, pushed back by the delays in financing, is expected to begin in mid-January and wrap up in early 2008.