Windsor Town Center advisors developing a game plan

Published 12:36 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

WINDSOR — Turning the Windsor Town Center into a rentable facility is just one idea to raise money for its operation, according to the new Advisory Board Chairperson, Brenda Stephenson.

Stephenson gave an enthusiastic report about the Windsor Town Center Advisory Board’s first meeting recently to the Windsor Town Council.

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“The ideas just kept coming,” she told the Town Council, and added that the 10-member Board has seemed to gel well together.

Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation Director David Smith is also eager to get his staff involved in running programs at the facility that was once the gymnasium for the former Windsor Middle School.

“It allows huge opportunities for indoor activities … for everyone from the little infants to the seniors,” he said. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“That’s what we’re in the business for. It’s like Christmas time,” said Smith.

The Windsor Town Council recently approved a $100,000 design for the Town Center, and the entire project is expected to cost around $1 million.

To finance the operation of the facility, Stephenson said ideas on revenue producing activities ran the gamut from weddings to church services to a health fair.

“We’ve got all kinds of ideas,” she said.

“This will open up a whole new world,” said Stephenson, noting that there is a lack of a facility this size from the Isle of Wight Courthouse all the way to Franklin.

The Windsor Town Center is expected to be 14,600 square feet when completed.

By comparison, The Smithfield Center is 8,000 square feet.

Stephenson, who is also a member of the Windsor Woman’s Club, noted her organization has already given $6,200 to the effort.

So far, the Woman’s Club has held its craft fair at the Windsor Town Center for two years in a row. Farmers Bank has also been a major contributor.

According to a conceptual floor plan submitted to the town by Moseley, aside from the gymnasium, the center will have an art room, office/reception area, seating lounge, kitchen, meeting room and several storage rooms.

Once completed, the town estimates it will cost about $162,222 a year to run the facility.

“We’re all crying to get it open,” said Stephenson, adding that they hope to have it open by next spring.

Smith said any involvement by Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation would have to be run by the Board of Supervisors, but so far, County Administrator Randy Keaton is supportive.

The town is leasing the circa 1960s building from Isle of Wight County Schools for a 20-year term with an annual fee of $1. The school division demolished Windsor Middle School in 2014, opening Georgie D. Tyler Middle School in its place.

The Windsor Town Center Advisory Board plans to meet monthly for a limited time, and the next meeting is Monday, Aug. 9, 7 p.m. at the town municipal center.  {/mprestriction}