Craven board approves $10,000

The Harlowe Community Center provides a social gathering place for families, seniors and children in the southeastern Craven County area.

In June, Craven County commissioners approved a $10,000 repair evaluation as part of the 2016-17 budget for several areas on the property, including the picnic shelter, playground and the basketball court.

The historically significant location has seen activity for more than half a century. Black-and-white pictures adorn the walls of the building.

“This used to be Godette School. It was an elementary school,” said Natalie R.M. Taylor, a local Harlowe historian. “Cahooque, North Harlowe, Adam’s Creek and Craven Corner or Harlowe, it extends into the Newport area, that makes up the four communities that support this building.”

Craven County Commissioner Theron McCabe attended Godette School, now the community center, before integration.

“I left the old school in 1956, and from the fourth grade, we came here until eighth grade and then went to Queen Street High School in Beaufort, Carteret County,” McCabe said. “We integrated in 1966 and from there we went to Havelock High School, and that’s where I finished school in 1967.”

The building now houses the Godette Head Start Center for children and a senior center, while the surrounding property includes a picnic shelter, a football field, a playground and a basketball court.

The property is often host to family reunions, class reunions and youth football games.

“Recently, they found out this was one of the first free African-American communities down here,” Taylor said.

The football field provides recreation for area youth.

“It’s nice, it keeps them occupied, it keeps them out of trouble,” Taylor said. “The cheerleaders, oh my God, they’re so cute. The ladies come down and they cheer, it’s really nice.”

Planned repairs to the picnic shelter include new roofing, siding, paint, doors and restroom upgrades. Other improvements include painting the basketball court and pouring playground sand.

McCabe said he hopes to see improvements continue. The repairs are expected to begin soon, he said.