Buyer sought for Mackey Community Center

Photo provided MACKEY COMMUNITY Center board members are preparing for the bittersweet sale of the organization’s community center. From left are Dave Reasbeck, Bonnie Travis, Rick Rodgers, Lou Suriano, Carmen Prati-Miller and John Applegarth. 2. Photo provided SHOWN HERE is the Mackey Avenue Community Center on North Eighth Street in Martins Ferry that is up for sale. It was built in 1952. Buyer sought for Mackey Community Center Association members moving on after 67 years

MARTINS FERRY — After decades of hosting birthday parties, meetings, wedding receptions and more, the Mackey Avenue Community Center will soon be sold.

Members of the Mackey Community Association, which was established in 1950, are looking to sell their community building as the association no longer needs or wants the structure. Association member John Applegarth said the group’s members all are getting older and do not have the time or means to keep up the building. Applegarth said they want to sell the building, located on North Eighth Street, while it is still in good condition — while someone can still use it.

It is situated in the Bulltown neighborhood of the city of Martins Ferry, also known as Mackey Avenue Addition.

“Their first order of business was to establish a committee to build a center to serve as a gathering place for the residents of Mackey Addition,” Applegarth said of the original association.

“The center also sponsored annual Halloween and Christmas parties and also carnivals held on the playground of Mackey Elementary School. One special yearly was to visit Kennywood Park,” he added.

The committee to build the center was headed by John Laslo, who later became mayor of Martins Ferry. He started a fundraiser called “Buy a Block” to build the center.

“The association joined forces with then Citizens Bank President Harold Riethmiller. When enough money was secured, the building was erected by several volunteers,” Applegarth said, noting the center was ready in 1952. “Since then, thousands of people have enjoyed get-togethers there.”

Applegarth said the operation of the center was carried out by dedicated volunteers over the years, but membership has declined.

“In recent years the lack of participating membership and the decline in center rentals have led to the decision, by the recently formed re-organizational committee, to close the building after almost 67 years,” Applegarth said.

According to the association’s charter, in the event the center is closed and sold, proceeds must go to a charitable organization chosen by the association. Applegarth said those interested in purchasing the building can call him at 304-650-5679 or call Carmen Prati-Miller at 740-633-6123.

The concrete block building, which is painted white, includes a small stage and space for gatherings.