The Dunn Community Center will soon be given new life. One of the goals of Exeter Township’s Parks and Recreation Department for 2018 is to re-purpose and renovate the facility to increase rental space options.
The top floor of the Dunn Community Center is completely booked through spring with meetings, parties and other activities, according to Township Supervisor John Cusatis. The bottom floor is currently being used by the Friends of the Exeter Library to store books for its biannual book sales benefitting the library. The group’s events are held at Exeter Community Library.
The township has asked the Friends to vacate the space by the end of 2017, with plans to utilize the space for various community activities.
“The Parks and Recreation Departments have been tasked with making themselves self-sufficient within three years,” said Cusatis, adding how this will help relieve some of the pressure of a growing parks budget. “One part of accomplishing this is utilizing all the space available in the most efficient manner. The Dunn Center is a large resource.”
Cusatis said, once vacated, the space could be utilized immediately following necessary repair work.
“Demolition and refitting work on the interior of Dunn will be done over the winter. The demolition is necessary both to identify where the water issues are to remediate the problem and to enable refitting to create a more efficient space. Change is difficult but to get a handle on costs and an ever-increasing budget we must change the way things have been done.” He explained how the township has been looking at ways to generate revenue in order to avoid a tax increase.
During the Oct. 9 supervisors’ meeting, Township Manager John Granger suggested that a portion of the rental fees be contributed to the library in lieu of any income lost from the Friends’ book sales. It was the consensus of the board to contribute $10,000 to the library from the additional rental income.
At that same meeting, according to the minutes, Granger indicated that when the Friends vacate the Center’s basement, the administration would recommend that a workout studio be relocated to the first floor and the second floor be reserved for items such as parties and conferences. He said the Dunn Center could potentially yield an additional $50,000 in revenue in 2018.
The costs of the repair work, estimated at $15,012, have been approved and are being paid for through the township’s Capital Fund.
Cusatis said he appreciates the hard work of the Friends and expressed how this is about utilizing the space of the township more wisely. He believes this is the best solution for everyone.
The Dunn Community Center, 4565 Prestwick Drive, was dedicated to the township in June 1999.