Archived Story

Chesapeake Community Center facing money crunch

Published 6:07am Thursday, November 22, 2012

Seeking donations, more memberships


CHESAPEAKE — Just as the cold weather hit, the Chesapeake Community Center had its furnace go out. That meant a $3,200 bill to get the heat back on.

Then a water meter blew a gasket. That added on another $491 that the center’s budget had to cover.

Add that to the fact that memberships are down and it means tough times for the self-supporting center.

“We are in a money crunch,” center director Ruth Damron said. “We have to try to raise some money. Normally we wouldn’t have to do that, since I have been here. I don’t know if it is the economy, but funds have dwindled.”

The center, which opened in 1988 in the former Chesapeake school district building, gets its funds almost exclusively from monthly membership fees. Adults are charged $25 a month and students $15.

Besides its exercise rooms, it provides practice space for Buddy Basketball League and Girls Softball League and is the headquarters for the Community Mission Outreach food pantry.

However, in the almost 25 years since the center opened, it is facing competition it has never had before as more and more health clubs open in the Tri-State.

“Our memberships have fallen by half,” Damron said. “This month alone we have probably less than 150 memberships.”

Recently, a patron donated $20,000 worth of new exercise equipment.

“We have everything to offer that the newer places have,” Damron said. “But we can’t get people in to try it. We are asking for contributions, but we would really like for the membership to increase. We need (funds) desperately.”



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