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Council visits old pool site

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The former Druid Hills Pool on Indian Trail no longer exists, Martinsville City Council learned Monday.

The once-popular recreation facility recently was razed after being closed for the past few years. The property has been turned into a grassy field.

“Whoa! You can’t even tell it (once) was there,” Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge said in surprise when she viewed the site. She was among four council members and several city employees who toured the neighborhood in a van to see conditions of property before a council meeting Monday night.

The city now owns the pool site, having received the deed from Forest Hills Recreation Enterprises, which once ran the pool, city Deputy Fire Marshal and Property Maintenance Inspector Andy Powers said in a recent interview.

State Corporation Commission records show that Forest Hills Recreation Enterprises ceased to exist about six years ago. As a result, nobody had recently taken responsibility for the property, Powers has said.

He told the tour-takers on Monday that plans are for the property to “grow up” with vegetation if no one makes the city an offer for it.

The site is large enough to support a small house, officials said.

But even if someone buys the land for a simpler project, such as a garden, it would generate some tax revenue, said City Manager Leon Towarnicki.

During the tour, Powers and Towarnicki pointed out dilapidated structures and overgrown properties citywide that either are to be demolished by the city, will be torn down by the property owners or are being considered for citations for property maintenance code violations.

Monday night’s council session, a neighborhood community meeting held at the city schools’ administration building on Indian Trail, attracted four people who asked questions and voiced opinions concerning city happenings.

Lois Christensen of Prospect Hill Drive said “an inordinate amount” of heavy equipment, such as large trucks and truck-trailer combinations, is traveling the street, creating noise. She noted that no businesses are on the street.

Imogene Draper of Mulberry Road asked why it is being proposed that the city’s Arts & Cultural Committee be expanded from five to 11 seats.

City Attorney Eric Monday said a large number of people in the community have asked to serve on the committee, which is an advisory panel.

Lonnie Carter of Corn Tassel Trail said he was unable to get inside a public hearing on the city’s budget proposal earlier this year due to the large crowd in the council chambers at the municipal building uptown.

Monday said that some past budget hearings have been held in a nearby courtroom that is larger than the council chambers, but that prevents the hearings from being televised live.

He indicated, however, that the city will try to find a way to make room for large crowds that show up for future public hearings.

Lee Ann Fuller of Beechnut Lane praised the “Culture Crawl” held uptown Saturday. The event featured arts, music, entertainment and shopping.

Draper praised the ongoing construction of the New College Institute’s new building uptown.

“I don’t think there is anything going on in Martinsville that we can be more proud of,” she said, adding that efforts to improve educational opportunities are “changing the culture” of Martinsville-Henry County in a positive way.

“That takes leadership,” Draper said, praising NCI Executive Director William Wampler.


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