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Grant sought for community center roof repairs

CHESAPEAKE — It’s become a problem that a handful of fundraisers can’t adequately bail out.

It’s the leaky roof at the Chesapeake Community Center. And bailing out is what those who work at the center have been doing a lot of each time Mother Nature sends a shower their way.

Now the board of directors at the center is looking for help in a big way and has taken a major step by applying for a chunk of Community Development Block Grants.

Next Thursday at 8:30 a.m. there will be a public hearing on a variety of grant requests at Lawrence County Commission chambers on the third floor prior to submitting the requests to the Ohio Department of Development.

Front and center at the hearing will be members of the Chesapeake center’s board.

“We’ve done spaghetti dinners to car washes and that is not taking care of it,” Doug Scott, board member, said. “We are to lose the roof pretty soon.”

A few months ago armed with $2,300 in cash that came from these small fundraisers and was used for material, Mike Wellman of Chesapeake and his family put on a portion of the roof that is over the room used for karate classes.

Also helping out was Galloway’s Poured Concrete Walls of Chesapeake. Both the Wellmans and Galloway’s donated their time.

However, it’s three significant sections of the roof with a square footage totaling 5,600 that cover the community food pantry operations that need to be replaced as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know how many times we have had people up there patching,” Scott said.

“Because it is federal money we have to do prevailing wage.”

That has translated into bids for the three sections reaching $47,500.

The center wants $22,000 in block grants to help pay to repair a section of the center that shelters what Scott sees as one of its more important missions: the food pantry.

“How do you not feed the 600 to 1,000 that the community center feeds,” he said. Some help for the roof might also come from the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, based in Ashland, Ky.

The foundation provided the center with a $1,000 grant last year.

But if the center does get enough funding to replace those three sections, the work won’t be over.

“That is not getting into the big areas of the roof, which really need to be addressed,” Scott said.

Those sections total almost 15,000 square feet or about three times the area over the food pantry.

For critics who don’t understand the quest the board has to make these repairs, Scott says the center offers a wide-range of programs that help both the schools and those in need.

Next week begins a summer tutoring program under the direction of Elaine Irish of Chesapeake.

The program is open to any age group and any subject. If there is enough interest, it will continue through the school year.

“If they are having a problem, they can call,” Ruth Damron, center director, said.

Anyone interested in the program can contact Damron at the center.

“You can’t take out the programs,” Scott said. “Special Olympics is here twice a year. And how many people do they feed at Christmas? How many people come in and need clothes and food? That is why we are trying to fight so hard to get grants.”