We need a Thunderbolt Community Center!

We need a Thunderbolt Community Center!

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Lisa Goodman started this petition to Thunderbolt Town Council


The problem that we are aiming to solve in Thunderbolt is to twofold:  1) Closure of the public library has negatively impacted the community; and 2) Thunderbolt is lacking a Community Center.  

When Thunderbolt lost its public library two years ago, it lost a vital anchor of its community.  According to the PEW Research Center, "Some 90% of Americans ages 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community,  with 63% saying it would have a “major” impact."  Libraries are essential to maintain community connections, and without one, communities are lacking vital resources to help boost the local economy.   According to the American Library Association, "Place-based economic development stresses the importance of offering attractive, functional, and community-based places, such as libraries, in town squares and depressed neighborhoods." 

The second problem we are addressing by this proposal is the lack of access in Thunderbolt to a Community Center.  For Thunderbolt to thrive as a community, it needs an anchor, and a Community Center could serve as that anchor.  Thunderbolt needs a focal point and a place for its community to congregate (outside of Town Hall).  Community centers serve as stabilizers, creative outlets, and safety valves in any viable society, and without one, we are "missing the boat."    

Community Centers offer tremendous benefits to communities, including health and wellness, family support, public safety, increased property values, and cultural diversity.  They also provide numerous opportunities for community enrichment as well, e.g, wellness programs, informational classes, child programs, senior programs, club meetings, and private event rentals. 


From the Open House feedback for the planned Thunderbolt Nature and Discovery Center, many citizens supported the idea of a Community & Media Center (Health, Wellness, Art, & other activities), which is an evolving concept of Phases I & II of the renovation plan. The new center would be comparable to the Frank Murray Community Center on Wilmington Island.

A new community center would not only provide the town revenue but would also serve to connect its citizens.  And, for those of you who attended the Open House, our citizens strongly expressed the need for a local resource for community collaboration and connection. 

Advantages of a Thunderbolt Community Center, such as the Frank Murray Community Center, include the following: 

  • Community identity strengthening by providing a focal point for community activities
  • Less expensive to renovate for community use, as compared to conversion for office space
  • Potential for revenue from special events
  • Community visibility enhancement by attracting people from outside Thunderbolt to the venue

The proposed building renovation process will be completed in phases.  Phased renovation allows a building to remain occupied while preparing for project completion.  Phase I of the renovation will provide a Media Center - including bookshelves and computer workstations - and will bring the building into ADA compliance with accessible restrooms available to the public.  According to the Brookings Institution, "Public libraries are a lifeline for the most vulnerable among us.”  Additionally, President Maureen Sullivan of the American Library Association (ALA) states, “Libraries report services for job seekers as the most important public internet service they provide."

Phase II will renovate the remaining building space as a "Shared Space," or Community Center.   The center would offer a large, open space for health and wellness classes, workshops, child and family programs, senior programs, club and community gatherings, and private event rentals.  There would also be the potential for local educational displays, e.g, recycled plastic art sculptures from schools or exhibits from local nonprofit organizations.

Our town not only has an opportunity to provide essential services to its citizens, but to make an impact on our communal health and well-being as well.  Thunderbolt needs an anchor for its community - not another office building.  We need a Thunderbolt Community Center!  

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!