Termites, Rot And Lead Paint Will Likely Cause Century To Replace Historic Community Center

September 13, 2023

In April 2022, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $3.255 million to the Town of Century to renovate two community centers.

Now, it appears all but certain that one will be razed and replaced with a new building.

Just under $2 million was designated to renovate the historic Carver Community Center at 7040 West Jefferson Avenue. The former school building was constructed in 1945.

But time and termites have taken an obvious toll on the wood building, which sat empty, neglected and unmaintained for years by the Escambia County School District. The school district has now transferred the title to the Town of Century.

During a community meeting attended by about 50 residents Tuesday evening in Century, architect Ben Townes said the building simply has too much termite damage, too much lead paint and too many structural problems to repair with the available budget. Spending the full budget on renovating the building would likely leave a more structural sound, but incomplete, building that could not be occupied.

The remainder  of the grant awarded by DeSantis, about $850,000, was designated for improvements at the Century Community Center (also known as the Ag Building) at the corner of West Highway 4 and Industrial Boulevard. Project consultant Robin Phillips said those funds will likely be diverted to the Carver Community Center due to unanticipated and drastic increases in construction costs.

A new Carver Community Center will pay homage to the existing structure.

An informal poll of the residents attending Tuesday’s meeting showed almost unanimous support for demolishing the current building and constructing a suitable replacement.

For more photos from Tuesday’s meeting, click here.

At least one additional public session is planned to allow residents to have input into the design of a new building.

Tuesday’s meeting was a workshop; the town council could not take a formal vote on the future of the Carver Community Center.

Pictured top: The former Carver Community Center on Jefferson Avenue. Pictured top inset: A preliminary conceptual drawing of a new community center was provided to the town council in May. Pictured bottom inset: Architect Ben Townes and consultant Robin Phillips address residents Tuesday evening. Pictured below: Residents Helen Mincy and Pastor Michael Steward were among those that spoke Tuesday evening during a workshop meeting. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


13 Responses to “Termites, Rot And Lead Paint Will Likely Cause Century To Replace Historic Community Center”

  1. M in Bratt on September 15th, 2023 6:54 am

    Point needs to be made that these so called “unincorporated area” community centers are also available to the citizens of Century for their use; because they are also residents and tax payers of Escambia County. It should also be noted that most of these community centers listed in District 5 are about the same age as the ones that Century has allowed to get to the point of falling down because of neglect and abuse.
    So what would lead us to believe that Century is prepared to take on the expense of keeping and maintaining any more community centers?

  2. Reader on September 14th, 2023 11:19 pm

    “So, if these unincorporated communities can have a community center, why can’t Century?”

    What’s your point? When this one is done, and another $10 million is spent for another one, Century will have FOUR.

    Carver Community Center (the one in the story)
    Century Community Center/Ag Building (open now)
    Century Business Center (open now)
    (yet unnamed) $10 million community center/shelter on Hecker Rd

  3. Precedent on September 14th, 2023 11:14 pm

    Community centers in District 5 Escambia County:

    Barrineau Park Community Center & Historical Society

    Byrneville Community Center

    Carver Park Resource Center

    Davisville Community Center

    Molino Community Center & Historical Museum

    Oak Grove Community Center

    Quintette Community Center

    Walnut Hill Community Center & Ruritan Club

    So, if these unincorporated communities can have a community center, why can’t Century?

  4. boohoo boohoo on September 14th, 2023 7:14 am

    why didn’t they take care for the ones they had, maintenance and care. why build a new building that will not be completed. with all the churches in the area, should be able to come together and build one, better yet demo it and build a nature park and play ground…it just end up empty and a trash heap…10% to the big guy

  5. Just Me on September 13th, 2023 11:37 pm

    Can we at least replace those stained ceiling tiles in the ag building with a small portion of the money.

  6. Oversight on September 13th, 2023 8:42 pm

    Town of Century is now the proud owner of yet another worthless property.

  7. Funny on September 13th, 2023 4:36 pm

    I propose we open three more community centers in century and use one for a ABC store where we can get something useful for our taxpayer money.

  8. Just my 2cents on September 13th, 2023 3:23 pm

    It really saddens my heart to see the comments stating how this is such a waste of taxpayers money. I realize that some people feel that certain ones don’t deserve to have anything and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But as a Christian first and foremost, I know that God is at the forefront of this project because we’ve prayed and is in agreement; and God says where two or more agree, He is in the midst. The community of Century has gone through a lot of wrongdoing at the hands of others, but we won’t be taken advantage of anymore. GOD HAS THIS! And He’s going to make sure everything is done right and in order. And one more thing, I want to thank my Pastor, Dr. Michael Steward, who is not even a resident of Century, for being so concerned and caring so much about our community. Thank you Pastor.

  9. Just my 2 cents on September 13th, 2023 1:32 pm

    @ M in Bratt
    To answer your question, we definitely have a need for two. First of all, the Carver Community Center was the first and only community center in the town of Century for many years. It was a place that provided many services and opportunities to the residents of the neighborhood. In the early days it was opened all day, every day, ran first by the late Gladys Hicks (Sug) and then the late Corrie Carter. It was very different from the Ag building, which is mostly used for special purposes, this was truly a community center in every sense of the word. During summer vacation from school, this was where the neighborhood children were every day. It provided activities, lunch and much more. So yes, we would love to bring those things back for our children and grandchildren. And I would also like to state that this center was originally called the ‘Century Community Center’ until someone saw fit to bestow that name upon the Ag building.

  10. bob c on September 13th, 2023 1:12 pm

    @ M in Bratt…
    You are Right–On.
    Seems the best use of Taxpayer Monies would be to determine which site is of more use to the public. Then demolish the old buildings and build a New and Much Better “Century Community Center” with all the modern amenities.
    Build something that the public and Citizens of Century want to go to and feel safe and secure doing so.
    Above all….keep a line-item accounting for every nail, board, brick, lightswitch that is going into the new construction.
    Do SOMETHING Resonable and Good for Century.

  11. sam on September 13th, 2023 12:39 pm

    what a waste! tax payer dollars wasted, again.

  12. Carolyn Bramblett on September 13th, 2023 9:37 am

    Another huge waste of taxpayer money.

  13. M in Bratt on September 13th, 2023 7:21 am

    Somebody needs to ask; How many community centers does a town of 1200 population need? Unless one of the esteemed town council members has another church that needs a free or cheap place to meet.