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Community center discussed at meeting: People for the Point takes issue with critical video

SOUTH POINT — The management of the community center was a topic of discussion at the meeting of South Point’s village council on Tuesday.

Linda May, treasurer of People for the Point, spoke during the public comment section.

She read a statement taking issue with a video posted on Facebook by Fred Craft, a village employee who is running for mayor, that was critical of the handling of the building.

The community center is owned by the village and, under a management agreement, is maintained by People for the Point.

May said the video implied that People for the Point now owned the building.

“That is not true,” she said.

May said People for the Point has carried out numerous improvements for the building under their tenure, including replacing its windows and installing a new front door, which were funded through donations.

In addition, she said they replaced the lock on the back door, purchased new tables and chairs, had bugs taken care of by pest control, installed a sound system and Wi-Fi and cleaned the facility.

She the building is available for rent for occasions such as weddings and parties, and has been used for weekly fitness classes, meetings of local groups and was the site of a warming station during subzero temperatures in January.

“There was an invitation on Facebook that it was open to anyone who needed it,” she said of the warming station, adding that churches donated blankets and pillows, which have been stored for future use.

May said that they also paid for new LED lighting.

“The lights were installed by someone with the village who we thought was trustworthy,” she said. “However, within one week, the lights began to fall and burn out and had to be thrown out. We are now burdened with having to replace those lights.”

While May did not name Craft, she implied he was the one who installed them.

“It’s ironic that the same person who posted this video is the same person who installed these lights,” she said.

She said Craft had stated he wanted to improve the community center.

“The person in this video states he would like to revamp this building,” she said. “Well, so would we. But understand, though, that we are working with limited funds.”

May said she is proud of the work the group has done on the building with their resources.

“He talks about on video that we go around on golf carts and wave at people for whatever we’ve done,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve told you what we’ve done. I don’t own a golf cart. None of us own golf carts.”

May urged Craft to volunteer with the group and become involved with their efforts. She said she has not seen him at any of their events.

“If he’d just help us, instead of complain about us and talk about us, we might be able to get our list of to-dos done,” she said.

May said the group hopes to replace the lighting, make the building handicapped accessible, replace its sign and paint the facility.

In other business, the council:

• Was presented with a revised version of the Disturbance of the Peace ordinance. A first reading did not take place.
Police chief Chris Mahjer said he found the version preferable, as it allowed for more officer discretion regarding offenses. The council will look the revisions over before the next meeting.

• Heard from residents on Key Street, who requested that village workers pick up lawn clipping on their rounds. Mayor Jeff Gaskin said he would look into why the pickups have not occurred.

• Heard from a resident who has stopped by council before to speak about issues with a neighbor she said has not mowed grass and has an out-of-control herd of feral cats. Gaskin and Mahjer said they would try to trap the cats, while they would be contacting the owner of the property, as efforts to reach the tenant have been unsuccessful.

• Heard from Bobbi Montgomery and Jeff Halley, two candidates running for state representative in 2020 to fill the 93rd District seat vacated by Ryan Smith, who will be term limited from re-election.

• Voted 5-0 to designate Fourth Street as Ohio Department of Transportation bike route No. 65.

• Heard from Mahjer and Gaskin, who said raffle tickets are still available at the police department and through the clerks at village hall for a Cadillac that was seized from a drug dealer. The tickets are $50 each and the auction will take place Monday. Proceeds will go toward the installation of handicapped-accessible equipment at the village park.