The Hamlet City Council on Tuesday approved the site plan for a parks and recreation complex.
The project had been proposed at the December council meeting by Patt Crissman of the Wooten Company.
The plan includes a 10,000-square-foot building with a seating capacity of 300 and 126 parking spaces. The entire multipurpose complex is proposed to be on Veterans Drive, across the street from the National Guard office.
The plan for the complex shows a 2,300 foot walking trail, open areas for a small soccer field, an area for volleyball, and a practice field. The floor plan for the 10,000-square-foot building shows a full basketball court, rooms for craft classes and aerobics or dancing. There will also be a catering kitchen with a window to sell concessions during games. Crissman said although the residents have Hamlet Memorial Park to use, the small center is over-programmed and it is difficult for residents to use the facility.
Approving the plan was the first step in the process, Crissman said. According to the City of Hamlet Systemwide Parks and Recreation Plan — which was given out at the council meeting and approved later — the second step will be to “seek immediate PARTF funding.”
PARTF, which stand for Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks and recreational projects to serve the public.
If the grant is given for this project, the council is looking at having the grant within a year, Crissman said.
The council also heard a rezoning request.
Pedro Torres, of Hamlet, was trying to get the 2-acre lot beside his current business rezoned from Residential Agriculture to Business in hopes of establishing a car lot.
“I want to bring business to Hamlet,” Torres told the council.
Torres currently owns Torres Produce at 513 Cheraw Road, in Hamlet. The 2-acre lot and the lot his current business is on is in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
The City Council voted unanimously to deny the rezoning, with some council members noting the property’s location in a residential area.
Councilman Johnathan Buie said that he appreciates Torres trying to bring more business to Hamlet, but due to the residential area, a car lot would not be beneficial to the community.
Mayor Jeff Smart said the decision came not because of the business being a car lot, but because of where the car lot would have been located. “It is just the fact that it is in the middle of a residential area,” said Smart.
The mayor said that he wants everyone to bring business to Hamlet but the council “can’t control what’s built once the land is zoned for business.”
Smart said that Torres’ current business is allowed because the land the business is on was already zoned for business many years ago. The council made the decision to keep the land zoned for business when Torres opened his current shop.
Cheryl Murchison, a friend of Torres who was at the meeting with him, said he has already purchased and started clearing off the 2-acre site. After the vote, Torres said that instead of the car lot, he will build a house on the property.
In other matters, the City Council:
• Approved the Bland Annexation of a 5-acre parcel between Cheraw Road and Freeman Mill Road.
• Adopted an ordinance to extend corporate limits by the Bland Annexation.
• Approved the City of Hamlet Systemwide Parks and Recreation Plan which outlines where parks are needed in Hamlet, gives an overview of the parks that Hamlet currently has, gives details about public involvement and gives an implementation plan on actions that can be taken to improve a current park or build a new one such as the Boyd Lake Road Complex.
• Announced that City Hall will be closed Jan. 21 to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There will be no changes to trash pick-up on that day.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.