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On track: Volunteers work to clear Chesapeake walking path

CHESAPEAKE — Sometimes, being a volunteer means using a little elbow grease and putting up with a little poison ivy.

On Saturday, members of the Chesapeake-Proctorville-Rome Lions Club and the Chesapeake Community Center board were cutting back tree branches around the walking path behind the community center.

“We’re cleaning the track so we can a truck back here to put some gravel on track,” said Douglas Scott, a member of both the club and center’s board.

About 16 years ago, the quarter-mile track was built around a ball field on what was once the East Elementary school property.

Scott said the track is used every day, year round by residents.

“It’s a safe spot and we try to maintain it year round,” he said, as he dragged tree branches along the path.

“The track has held up pretty well,” said Dick Gilpin. “We’re just going to put some more gravel on it and once it packs down it will be just like concrete.”

Lions Club President Willard Spears said the cutting back of the tree branches was necessary for two reasons.

“One is to get the truck in and the other is that the branches were getting in way of the way of people trying to walk the track,” he said, adding the heat was not much of a factor since he has been mowing the grounds.

“This is just something we wanted to do for the community,” he said of the track repair.

The old school has taken on a new life as a community center with a health center, a food pantry, meeting rooms, Nautilus equipment in the gym and offers karate, kickboxing and Jazzercise.

“We created the health center to fund the rest of the building,” Gilpin said.

The track is owned by the Community Center and the Lions Club maintains it as one of their community projects. The Lions also built a shelter and bathrooms on the property behind the old school building. The Chesapeake High School and an over-55 league use the diamond for games.

Gilpin said another improvement they are going to make is to put some new storm windows in the old gym.

“We have to cut our fuel costs and button up some of the holes in the building,” Gilpin said.

Spears said they paid $1,800 a month in heating costs last winter.

“We’re going to try to change that this year,” he said.