CHERAW -A blue ribbon steering committee that will study the proposed wellness center in Cheraw met for the first time on Jan. 15 at the Country Kitchen Restaurant..
According to Cheraw Parks and Recreation Director Phil Powell, who serves as chair of the committee, the cost of the project has increased from around $4 million to possibly $6. 5 million.
"We are at our crossroads with the wellness center," said Powell.
Committee members are Powell, Maurice Banks, Robbie Bennett; Wayne Chapman, the Rev. Diana Charles, Fred Craft, the Rev. Jerry Corbett, Gary Hancock, Bill Malloy, Dr. Travis Novinger, Margaret Reid, Vance Reynolds, Atticus Simpson, Stacy Tarlton, Councilman Randy Butler and Councilwoman Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon.
The purpose of the blue ribbon committee is to help oversee the planning of the proposed wellness center. The committee will serve as a guide to help get the project off to the right start through constructive planning and working with town council.
Mayor Scott Hunter opened the meeting by expressing his concerns.
"The only issue that has really caused me to lose sleep during my campaign is the wellness center project, because it is such a huge project," said Hunter. "A $ 6.5 million dollar facility is a huge project for the town."
Powell gave more details on the proposed wellness center.
"We may be looking at nine months construction time, and we have a hopeful date to begin construction in the fall of 2009," said Powell. "This is just hopeful and is not set in stone."
Powell also stated that the committee is working on partnering with local business.
"We are also developing a partnership with Chesterfield General and Northeastern Technical College to work with us," Powell said. "We were asked to proceed with this project, and this is a recipe for success. We want to make sure that everyone understands the input of the facility."
Priority action steps that the new committee will look at for the wellness center are:
* Review feasibility study recommendations
* Secure building site
* Define financial package
* Develop citizen support
* Finalize partnership agreements with Chesterfield General Hospital, Northeastern Technical College, The Legends at Cheraw and Government agencies.
* Building design and function
* Policy issues
According to Powell, developing a common vision is the main goal for everyone.
"We want our members to stay informed." Said Powell. "We have appointed Fred Craft, former chairman of the PRT Commission to be the administrator for the steering committee. He will keep us well informed as to the needs we need to look at."