Archived Story

Assessment planned for Chesy center

Published 9:26am Thursday, June 28, 2012

CHESAPEAKE — Determining the best use of the Chesapeake Community Center is the goal of a planned review of the building.

At a meeting Tuesday the center’s board and representatives of the Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization authorized an architectural assessment of the 1920s building once used as a school in the Chesapeake district.

In 1988 the aging building became the center, which leases the space from the Chesapeake school district for $1 a year.

“The county has been working with the Chesapeake Community Center and has invested some dollars in the past helping with repairs,” Ralph Kline of the CAO, said. “They had talked about different improvements that need to be made there.

“We are trying to work with them, sit down and look at the facility, like we do other projects, being a long-term investment. What is the best use of dollars and the greatest need.”

In the past the CAO has helped the center obtain block grants for renovations.

“We are looking at just a small sit-down work session with a professional who can advise on the architecture and cost at the facility,” Kline said. “What their vision of the property is. That would help guide us with any dollars we spend on improvements. It would help us find other grant dollars and foundation dollars for making improvements over the years.”

Kline said the target date for the assessment to start is in a couple of months.

“We would like to be able to have that information hopefully when the block grant program falls around next year,” he said.

Over the past three years, the center has been involved in ongoing renovation projects including roof repair and lighting in the gymnasium. Next on the project list are refinishing the gym floor and replacing ceiling tiles there.

On Saturday the center hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at St. Ann’s Church that netted $1,300 toward the $3,000 price tag for that job.

“It wasn’t quite as good as last year, but I was happy with it,” center director Ruth Damron said.

Despite the upcoming assessment Damron said she intends on proceeding with the gym repairs.

“I am going to start in a couple of weeks on the floor and start sanding,” she said. “With what money we have gotten to use it until we use it up. If we like (the assessment) we will go with it. If we don’t, we won’t.”

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  • Poor Richard

    The community center is wonderful and I am glad the folks of Lawrence County have such an asset. I always thought use of all the classrooms would be nice to rent to community organizations for meetings, workshops, etc. I also thought that the classrooms would be a great place for art classes or other community oriented education like quilting or dog training.

    Don’t think much of the double wide trailer on the lot and would like to see more landscaping and trees. I’ve noticed alot of WV people hanging out behind the center (one reason I don’t walk there any longer) and I think that area should be entirely fenced for members.

    While in Georgia one year I visited an old school turned into a community center. They had a very nice museum in one end (it wasn’t as large as the Chesapeake Center) and a art-craft store for area artists to sell their art in the other end. Classrooms were used for art studios and the gym was renovated as a theater. They held plays and other events. It became sort of a gathering place for the community in White County GA.

    Maybe the classrooms could be turned into offices for non-profit organizations. Or new small business offices for those just getting started while still using the gym and other recreational activities. Renting space would give the Community Center some extra income. There is no where in the county except OUS for large meetings or gatherings.

    Might try hiring an event planner for the fundraisers to bring in folks with big pocketbooks or at least bigger pocketbooks.

    (Report comment)

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