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Decatur City Councilman pushes for Carrie Matthews building to be restored

“This building is apart of this community’s legacy, it’s a part of our history,”
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 7:44 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - After 52 years, the Carrie Matthews Recreation Center could soon be demolished in Decatur. The gym floor at Carrie Matthews has been sinking for quite awhile, and the last council put aside nearly $2 million to restore the building.

Crews went in to test if the soil is solid enough for the building to even be restored, but it’s looking like that’s not going to happen. Councilman Billy Jackson says so many stories have come out of this building, and it needs to stay in place.

“The biggest thing that this center offers for this community is the fact that it is a safe haven for the children of this community,” said Jackson.

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling says the city engineer does not think that restoring the building is likely. Jackson says despite the floors, the foundation and structure of the building are both very sound, and he believes restoration of the building is feasible.

“The money is there for us to restore this building and to allow it to continue the use that it’s had for this community,” said Jackson.

Jackson says the area is not the most affluent. His concern is that children won’t have the transportation needed to get to the center of it is rebuilt in another location.

“We’ve got to have a place for them to be here in this community, and there’s no other place for this center to go if we can’t build back in this spot,” said Jackson.

Jackson says the building is vitally important to the community and thinks the mayor and council should figure out a way to keep the current building. He says demolishing the building is the easy way out.

“This building is a part of this community’s legacy, it’s a part of our history, and when our kids don’t have a place to call home for a safe haven, then of course it impacts your entire community. So, I think that more than anything else, we’ve just got to make sure that this building does not go away,” said Jackson.

Many residents around the Carrie Matthews Rec Center say they want the building to be saved, but some say they’re open to a new building. Mayor Bowling says he hopes the final results of the soil testing will be ready in the next few weeks.

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