Archived Story

Community should help save center

Published 9:39am Friday, November 23, 2012

For nearly 25 years the Chesapeake Community Center has essentially lived up to its name by offering a variety of opportunities for residents. But that could change without more support and potentially retooling the focus.

The community center, housed along State Route 7 in an aging building formerly part of the Chesapeake school district, has had its ups and downs over the years but is now facing significant financial challenges.

The center primarily survives on community donations and memberships of the fitness program that the center offers. Those memberships have decline significantly in recent years all while operating expenses and building maintenance costs increase.

Volunteers and generous supporters have done much over the years to make the gym functional and provide quality exercise equipment but still something is lacking or the word simply isn’t getting out.

It is certainly not too late to save the center, but it will take a focused and concerted effort, as well as thinking outside the box. Could local civic organizations play a larger role including utilizing it for more projects?

Could any of the school districts find a way to use it and share costs?

Are there private business that could benefit from a presence in the center and would be willing to pay rent?

Could the center seek input from the community and determine exactly what would be supported or needed?

Looking at every option will likely be vital to ensuring the center enjoys another 25 years.


  • Poor Richard

    Every organization, like every business, corporation, or non-profit, must have a champion, a CEO, a President, that has the skills, the drive, networking abilities, and vision, to make things happen and behind that leader must be a cadre of members willing to work hard. Whether holding a fund raising dinner, event or door to door activities they are the ultimate leaders in getting things done.

    I support the Chesapeake Community Center and have been a member many times over the years. I like the fact they have a track outside and the weights inside. Also over the years I’ve gone to the center when the membership crowds were people I didn’t want to be around and other times I’ve worked out with folks I enjoyed working out with. The equipment at the center is wonderful, and having lockers was great. The only time I avoided working out was when the massive amounts of kids were in the gym.

    Because the center is the old school, there are many rooms that can be made into classrooms or meeting rooms for the community to use for presentations, garden club meetings, etc… EAch room could be equipped with projectors and screens. They could have a store in a room for consignment of local artists to sell their art. They could use the gym and stage for community plays or entertainment. The outdoor areas can be created to be more like a park. I would certainly get rid of the double wide next to the historic school – that is disgusting. I’m not sure why the center focuses just on exercise.

    Check out this community center in northern Georgia. They have grown considerably since their initial start up. North Georgia is alot like our region in population and weather. This center was an old school converted into a community center. I know the leaders and how hard they worked to make this happen but if you look at the list of board members, president, director, and others involved, this was not a solitary affair. They have a website Sautee-Nacoochee Community Center.

    (Report comment)

    • indieVoter

      Absolutely superb comment Richard. Just as any worthwhile cause needs a champion, any worthwhile community needs wise and active citizens as you’ve demonstrated yourself to be just now. Progress is not an accident.

      Keep fighting the good fight, my friend.

      (Report comment)

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