ELIZABETHTOWN — Just like the 1908 Tin Pan Alley Song, spectators at baseball games at Leinwand Park will soon be able to “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,” after the Elizabethtown Town Council approved moving forward with plans for a new concession stand at the King Street site.
At the August meeting, town architect Rod Fritz presented a conceptual plan to the Council that would utilize a portion of the existing Bladen Crisis Ministry building on Morehead St. to house a concession area, men’s and women’s restroom facilities, and a shared meeting room.
The renovation would involve dividing the building in half, with Bladen Crisis using the northern half of the building and the town utilizing the southern end. The town’s space would be roughly divided into four quadrants, one each for each of the aforementioned purposes. The men’s and women’s restrooms would each house approximately four stalls and would be accessible from the southernmost wall of the building. Fritz told the Council he expected the renovations would cost approximately $50,000.
The Town Council approved moving forward with bidding for the project.
The plans will involve, however, big changes for the current tenant, Bladen Crisis, which uses the space for its Food Pantry.
“I think we’ve come up with a way to accomplish what we want to accomplish while providing adequate space for their purposes,” Fritz informed the board.
Kathy Page, director of the Food Pantry, is optimistic about the changes.
“We’ve got to do what we can to help the youth in our community,” she commented, “so if we can work together to get bathrooms and concessions for that end of the ballpark, that would be great.”
“There are a lot of cubbies and areas in the building that we have to work around, and (the town) wants to clear it all out and start all over, so it would really be a more efficient use of space.”
One of the possibilities for maximizing the building’s area has to do with freezer space. Currently, the ministry uses 10 chest freezers to store its perishable food.
“A walk-in freezer is the number one thing I can think of that would benefit them,” Public Works Director Pat DeVane suggested to the board. “You can imagine how much space 10 freezers take up.”
DeVane estimated that a walk-in freezer would cost around $25,000.
“That’s just one of those things that’s a dream,” Page remarked. “We would love to have one — it would be fantastic — but it would involve a lot of fundraising.”
“There’s a golden opportunity here to support this ministry,” DeVane commented. “It would be a major boon to their business, and if we don’t help them a little, we’re going to have less restroom and concession space.”
Several Council members expressed opinions on the importance of the ministry, as well as a desire to help the organization. The board agreed to look into funding options for the walk-in freezer.
“I’m glad we can work with them,” remarked Mayor Sylvia Campbell. “They do great things for Elizabethtown.”
“I’m confident the town believes in our mission, and they don’t want to do anything to harm it,” Page said.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.