'Woodmen Community Center' name is changed

'Woodmen Community Center' name is changed

Workers remove the "Woodmen" from the Woodmen Community Center sign Tuesday. Photos by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

The name may not stay the same for long, but a change has been made.

The Woodmen Community Center is no more, as all signage identifying it as a Woodmen of the World property came down Tuesday. The new name for the building is the Kinston Community Center, although City Manager Tony Sears said it’s not a permanent change as the city transitioned into taking control of the entity.

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“We want to take our time and make sure it has the right name and feel for the community,” Sears said. “The council has the ultimate decision and we will work on that in a month or so.”

The Woodmen of the World organization signed over ownership of the recreation center to the City of Kinston earlier this year and the city accepted the debt-free gift.

"The center is immensely important to the city," Sears said. "But it's not just the facility itself, it's the water park. It's a draw, not just for Kinston but for Lenoir County and the surrounding area."

Sears said the change will allow the city to handle any issues with the center easily without going through a middleman.

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“Legally by contract, we had 45 days to rename the building,” Sears said. “That’s not why we came up with the name ‘Kinston Community Center’ though — this is the city’s entity and it’s important to let the customers know that. It also allows us to be more responsive for things like equipment repairs and being able to service the clientele with more precision because decisions have to no longer come from Omaha.”

Kelly Cannon, facility director of the Kinston Community Center, said there will be very few alterations.

“All staff members are City of Kinston employees, so the only change would be in ownership, which will be more beneficial,” Cannon said.

Check out an exclusive interview with Tony Sears by clicking the button below.

Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks contributed to this report.

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