GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A proposal to locate a cultural center shaped like a pirate ship at the Greenville Town Common has hit a speed bump due to a 1986 Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant.
The grant restricts the use of the area to public outdoor recreation.
The grant does not necessarily prevent it from being built on the Town Common, but if the city decides to move forward with that location, they will need approval from the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior.
The Greenville City Council is considering adding a cultural center shaped like a pirate ship for STEAM and entertainment, but a proposal to locate the center at the Greenville Town Common is facing some opposition.
“This area is so beautiful with the wide open spaces,” said Joan Jones, a Greenville resident. “You can see all the families enjoying it. It seems like it could be another place better suited for it.”
Uriah Ward, executive director of the New Greenville organization, has organized a petition against building the Town Common in that location, and hundreds of people having signed the “Save the Town Common” petition. The goal of the petition is to get the center built somewhere else in the city.
Mayor Allen Thomas said the pirate-ship-shaped building would bring tourism to the area.
“This is about kids and families and science and technology and math and all of the things we want to draw people to Greenville,” Thomas said.
The City Council has voted to make the project a priority for the year. However, city leaders maintain that any discussion about the project is preliminary and add that other locations are also under consideration.
“This could end up being in any of a dozen places in the city,” Thomas said.
“The first proposal is that they did put this down on the town common, and that was just a first shot at looking at this,” said Jim Blount, the local project manager.
The building would be owned by a non-profit, house training and workshops, and include a performing arts center.
“Instead of shipping our kids to Raleigh, Marbles (Kids) Museum and other places, their kids will be coming here to Greenville to have something really unique and experience in this community,” Thomas said.
If you’d like to view the petition, click here.