CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Excelsior Club was topic of discussion at the weekly Tuesday morning breakfast forum.
Several people showed up to hear what the city plans to do with the 75-year-old establishment. The club has been closed for three years and is in need of repair.
Monday, city council unanimously referred the club to the city’s Economic and Development Committee.
At-large city councilman James Mitchell is the chair. He will instruct city staff to see how much money it will take to bring the building back up to code.
“We should explore how can we partner with the county,” Charlotte at-large councilman James Mitchell said. “How can we partner with others in the community who have approached me about saving The Excelsior Club - so to me it’s about our history.”
Mitchell told the people at the forum once he finds out how much it will cost to purchase and renovate the building - he will start looking for investors. He says The Foundation for the Carolinas is willing to chip in. He will look for others. The Councilman wants to find money the city may have to give.
"I know some funding sources in our budget," Mitchell said. "That we approved that some money can come from."
Mitchell says there is money available in the city's business corridor budget that equals about $1.8 million and he says there is about $550,000 in the city's Facade Grant Program.
"It is important to the city what happens to The Excelsior Club." Mitchell said.
At the Tuesday morning breakfast forum, questions were asked and answered. People used the discussion to form an action committee. That committee will come up with a plan to present to city leaders outlining what they would like to see in the rebirth of The Excelsior Club. People of all ages voiced their opinion at the tuesday morning breakfast forum.
“Young people need to be involved,” 21-year-old Rashid Saddler said. “It could be better long term. They are so concerned about the history of it, but I believe the future is more important than the past.”
Saddler says he doesn’t know the history of The Excelsior Club. People in the room claim most young people don’t, that’s why they believe the building should be preserved to teach the young people. Saddler says that may be a good idea but hopes The Excelsior Club can fulfill its current day purpose.
"As a community - we don't need another community center," Saddler said. "We don't need another church - it's enough of those already. I think that we should find the right use for it, and if we can't - then I do believe it should be torn down and like used for something better."
The community’s action committee will meet June 13 to start discussing a plan for the club. Mitchell says that will make a difference.
“What is the public purpose,” Mitchell said. “So for us to commit and give - there has to be a public purpose and I think that’s when Tuesday morning breakfast - what they’re doing here this morning - by having an action group committee to give us something - goes a long way in getting the city comfortable about investing.”
The next Economic and Development Committee will be June 27. Mitchell wants the community to show up in huge numbers, so city leaders can know the future of The Excelsior Club is important to the community.