While rain poured down, a ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening opened Circleville's first-of-its-kind "youth drop-in center."
Kids and adults crammed into a former church camp bookstore to initiate an alternate place to have fun.
Barry Bennett is the Executive Director of PARS, the Pickaway Area Recovery Services. He said about 8 or 9 months ago they saw a need, and got the police department, Circlville schools, and the faith-based community together.
They all contributed to the facility at 457 East Ohio Street, because Circleville has lost major recreation outlets for children in the last few years.
The building is on the campus of PICCA, the Pickaway County Community Action, near the old GE plant. The bookstore was for the former "Mount of Praise" camp ground where the PARS campus is now.
Bennett says they are teaming up with the nearby Christ in Christian Union Church for the use of their gym. A naming contest is also underway for the center.
PARS is also active in Pickaway, Fayette, Fairfield, Muskingum, Ross, and Highland counties.
Kevin Coleman regularly reports on Chillicothe & Circleville councils and local culture
More from their news release:
As children of our community look for positive after school activities, Circleville responds with the opening of an after-school youth drop-in center.
Circleville is looking for ways to create spaces where youth can feel safe, meet their basic needs, and have fun. In recent years the community has lost many major recreation outlets, including a fire that destroyed the city’s roller rink and bowling alley which was a popular place for children to hang out.
Thanks to start-up support contributed by Pickaway Area Recovery Services (PARS) and partnerships with the Circleville Police Department, Circleville City Schools and the faith based community, were able to secure a location for the drop-in center set to open April 3, 2018. The center will boost games, television, activities, food, and hygiene items. The center’s estimated $150,000 annual operating budget will rely on volunteers, food, and monetary donations.
The center is currently holding a naming contest and youth from the entire Pickaway County region are invited to participate.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting took place on April 3, 2018 from 6pm-7pm at 457 East Ohio Street Circleville, Ohio 43113.