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Spring Hope board approves Spaulding Center move

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The Spaulding Family Resource Center is getting a new home.

The Spring Hope Board of Adjustment on Monday approved a conditional use request for the Spaulding Center to use a former day care center at 203 N. Walnut St. across from First Baptist Church.

The center was originally formed in 1990 in the former Spaulding Elementary School on Pine Street with the help of Communities In Schools and several grants. When the school property was declared surplus and sold at auction in 2018, the center was allowed to remain at the school for a year while the rest of the property was intended to become a charter school.

The Global Achievers charter school failed in the fall, but the center has remained in the building. A high rent, though, prompted the center to seek a new location.

“One of the reasons to find something cheaper we can afford is so we can continue,” Johnny Perry, chairman of the center’s board of directors, told the Board of Adjustment.

Town Manager Jae Kim, recommending approval of the request, said the former day care property is large enough to accommodate the center’s current activities. The only main concern was parking, but Kim said the combination of on-site parking and nearby street parking was sufficient for the center’s needs.

He said the property, located at the upper end of the central business district and on the edge of a residential district, was “potentially an ideal location for a community center.”

The center, a grant-funded nonprofit agency, has a staff of four and is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It currently offers a supervised play group for children up to preschool age, a computer lab with Nash Community College classes two days a week, senior bingo on Wednesday afternoons and a variety of seminars to benefit senior citizens.

Recent seminars were run by the Nash County Health Department and by the Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging.

Asked if the center had plans for expanding its programs, Executive Director Savonia Richardson said, “I hope it will change. That will let us know that we are growing.”

“It depends on the community,” Perry added, “how well we blend in and what they want.”

With no opposition at the public hearing and bolstered by a crowd of Spaulding supporters in the audience, the adjustment board approved a series of motions endorsing the action before unanimously approving the conditional use permit.

Conditions placed on the permit is that all required permits and inspections must be completed and approved prior to operation, any additional exterior lighting shall be designed not to shine on adjacent residential properties, signs will require a separate zoning permit and any violations of the conditional use permit will cause the permit to expire.

“We’re not going to let you down,” a thankful Perry told the board.

Richardson said after the meeting that the center would move “just as soon as we can. It’s in action already.”

The Board of Adjustment consists of the town commissioners and Georgia Warren. Prior to the hearing on Spaulding, the board voted to elect Warren as chairman and Ricky Tucker as vice chairman.

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