The Transylvania Times -

Mary C. Jenkins Community Center Update Given – Brevard, NC


Last updated 11/5/2019 at 10:03am

City officials, including City Manager Jim Fatland, Councilman Maurice Jones and Mayor Jimmy Harris, recently met with Bethel "A" Baptist Church trustees to discuss the center and related projects. (Times photos by Matt McGregor)

An update on the proposed construction of a new Mary C. Jenkins Community Center and Silversteen Park was recently provided by the City of Brevard to the Bethel "A" Baptist Church trustees.

Brevard City Council approved the plans to build the new center in November 2017.

In the city's 2018 budget, a property tax increase of 1.5 cents was approved to help pay for the new center.

Council established the Mary C. Jenkins Community Center (MCJCC) task force in January 2018, which has held 20 meetings so far.

In October 2018, the old building, which opened in 1952 and was the hub of the Rosenwald community for more than 70 years, was ceremonially burned.

In August of this year, council accepted the donation of Silversteen Memorial Playground from the church, hired Summitt Engineering to prepare a grant application for stream restoration along Norton Creek and requested a proposal from Carolina Parks & Play for playground equipment.

The Parks, Trails and Recreation Committee and the task force began developing plans for the new playground, basketball court, picnic shelter and stream restoration.

Also in August, council accepted a donation of the parking lot across from the center and down the street from the church.

Councilman Maurice Jones, the MCJCC task force chairman, said the center's development, along with the park and the future of the connecting trail system, has been in the works for "a long period of time."

"Even though people see in the newspaper it's new, but, to us, this is not new," he said. "This is years and years in the works. In April 2012, the Mary C. Jenkins Community Board actually donated property to the City of Brevard, and that's the first step of reinvesting in the community."

Jones said, though he was happy about the decision, he said he knew that there was still "uneasiness" in the Rosenwald community about the possibility of "giving away" property and not getting a "a return on the investment."

"I'm here to tell you, you are going to get a lot on your return investment," he said. "You are going to get something back that is going to work for you not only within the community of Rosenwald, but also anyone who comes into the City of Brevard will be able to use it, especially with the path that will come through the City of Brevard that will connect the community. I'm really excited about the future."

Jones later said, as a side note, that after the center's burning, the city discovered that it was the county that actually owned the building.

"If I understand correctly, it goes back to the swimming pool issue," he explained. "I think there was a request for the assistance with the pool and then it went to the county, so the county ended up owning it so that they could take care of the pool. The city ended up taking care of it after the fact, which is why we thought we owned it."

City Manager Jim Fatland said the county has given the building's deed to the city. Fatland said the trail system that will run throughout Brevard will connect Rosenwald to the entire community.

Fatland said the city applied for a grant two months ago that would assist in funding the trail system from West Main Street down to the center and Silversteen Park "that will provide a connection in the Rosenwald community to have trail access all the way to Pisgah National Forest."

"Our next step is to continue the trail onto Rosman Highway and over to Brevard High School," he said.

City Council will discuss the center Wednesday during its retreat. The task force will discuss the center's design on Nov. 19.


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