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Martins Ferry mayor reacts to incident at rec center

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry Recreation Center sustained some damage recently, and city leaders may halt some activities in an effort to protect the facility.

Martins Ferry Mayor John Davies posted on Facebook on Sunday that damage had been done to the rec center. Davies did not discuss what was damaged or more details about the incident.

The rec center reopened on Monday following the damage. It also hosted a political forum in its gymnasium Monday evening.

“If any more damage is done, it will close indefinitely,” Davies posted.

“This is all done with volunteer help and donations,” he added, referring to the afterschool program and free Sunday roller skating sessions offered at the building on South Fourth Street.

Davies said the building is equipped with surveillance cameras.

“We have 16 cameras in the building, and all youth are aware of them. I just can’t do the mayor’s job and watch cameras all day,” he posted.

The children also have to sign in and out when they enter and leave the rec center.

Davies said the rec center caters to about 40 youths at a time with only two or three volunteers watching them and serving food.

Davies said the rec center could always use more volunteers.

He would like to have an adult in every room the kids are in except the bathrooms. He posted that volunteers are needed from 3-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 2-4:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Lisa Bell and Nancy Applegarth Duke volunteer at the rec center almost every day until 5 p.m.

“We give our time and finances for the kids. I pray we can continue it without further problems,” Duke commented on Facebook.

Davies said he has banned individual youths in the past.

“Some youth are already banned, and we seem to have more problems when we have older kids here, and I’m sure it’s a lot of peer pressure from the older kids,” he posted.

The city hosts free roller skating every Sunday as well as the afterschool program. The afterschool program provides meals and snacks that have been donated by local businesses and members of the community. It also features games, basketball, skating and other activities for students.

Children in kindergarten through 12th grade are allowed in the building during the program, which usually lasts until 6 p.m. after school.

The rec center is also available to rent out for parties and events.

For more information about the rec center or to volunteer, contact Davies on Facebook or call the mayor’s office at 740-633-2876.

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