Walnut Cove Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor to add a text amendment to the zoning code which would allow a conditional use for a health and wellness center in the downtown area.
Leslie Bray Brewer, who’s been a proponent of building a community center on the old Dodson Hotel property told the board on Tuesday evening out of 46 storefronts on Main Street, between Oldtown Road and 5th Street, 11 are vacant, which gives the town plenty of spaces for businesses to bring in revenue.
Brewer also noted she believes the center will draw people into town, where they’ll likely shop and enjoy a meal.
Meghann Evans said growing up in Walnut Cove there wasn’t a lot to do. After graduating college, as a young professional she went to work in downtown Winston-Salem for three years and was often asked why she continued to live in Stokes County.
“In my heart I knew there was more to come,” she said. “You have an opportunity to open the door for the exploration of something that could really benefit the town, benefit the downtown look, give opportunity for wellness and fitness, for community activities. Not everything can be measured in dollars, there’s quality of life concerns as well.”
After suffering a stroke, Reggie Fenner explained he had been driving to King to utilize the walking track at the YMCA. Soon after, he suffered a second stroke and said he’d like to see a wellness center in his own community. He added with the transition to winter, many walkers are left with nowhere to exercise.
Angie Bailey, Director of Community Relations for Walnut Ridge Assisted Living, told the board a downtown center would benefit her residents at Walnut Ridge and keep them from transporting dozens of seniors to King.
“After a stroke or any type of injury you only have a certain amount of time you can really get strong. Something local would be so much better,” she said.
Commissioner Sharon Conaway made a motion to approve the zoning change and a second came from Danny Hairston.
Brewer said the next step will be to draw up a basic site plan and pay a $200 application fee for a conditional use permit.
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.