Fate of Harmon Field open air gym in doubt

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Durham and Harmon Field Supervisor George Alley brought the problem to town council in discussing applying for a grant for Harmon Field improvements and updating the park&squo;s capital improvement plan. Alley said the roof cannot wait for grant funding. Alley also said the roof needs to be replaced or the building &dquo;bulldozed.&dquo;

Alley said he has received a $38,000 quote on fixing the roof, but no funding is currently available.

Plans for renovating the open-air gym have been made in applying for the 2009 N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant. Harmon Field has approximately $59,000 worth of improvements to the gym, including interior renovations, renovations to the playing surface, fencing and adding a climbing wall. A new roof is not part of the grant application due to the need being immediate, especially with recent rains.

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The open-air gym is currently used for basketball and was used this past summer for a Harmon Field concert series, but Alley said with renovations the gym could be used much more. Council members discussed even in its condition how many people play basketball there and the upstairs showers have been used in the past for a summer bicycle race held at Harmon Field. The showers were in too poor condition to be used this year, officials said.

&dquo;If we don&squo;t fix the roof we need to tear it down and write it off,&dquo; Durham said.

Council directed Alley to return next month with estimates on tearing the building down, more estimates on replacing the roof, potential sources of funding and projections on how much revenue the building could bring if it were fixed and renovated for multiple uses.