BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday denied a request from the Ellamore Recreation Center for money the center says would have helped to keep the center open for local children.
The issue arose at the county commission’s regular meeting Thursday when the county commission read aloud a letter from Phillis Lemons, director of the Ellamore Recreation Center asking the commission for a $3,000 donation “so we may keep our doors open for our kids, even if it just for one more month. The Ellmore Recreation Center, which is located on the Lantz Road on in Ellamore at the old fire department, has been asking for money to keep the community building open “so our children and neighbors have a safe place to meet and play.”
The letter goes on to state that the Ellamore Recreation Center has “worked hard for years to keep the rent, utilities and insurance paid but in winter months it is difficult to hold fundraisers.”
“Therefore we must ask organizations like yours for assistance,” the letter states. “We have also been working for the past few years to purchase the building from the Ellamore Fire Department. We have managed to pay off about two-thirds of the purchase price so far with monthly cakewalks and grocery bingo, but we if cannot secure funding immediately we will be forced to close the community building permanently and all our hard work will have been wasted.”
The states specifies that the county commission’s donation will go directly into the building either in the form of a building payment in the form of a building payment to the fire department, utility insurance or insurance payments. The letter asks for a $3,000 donation today “so we may keep our doors open for our kids.”
“This is a really safe place where everyone is welcome,” the letter states. “We hope we can depend on you for $3,000 to help us keep it open for a little while longer because community buildings are fast becoming a thing of the past and if it goes away our kids will miss it. We will miss it.”
Commission president Terry Cutright said, “I don’t know that we could do that this year.”
Commissioner Troy “Buddy” Brady said he didn’t think the commission giving money to the Ellamore Recreation Department was feasible this year.
There’s several organizations that have come to us that we wanted to donate to, but we couldn’t because we didn’t have the funds,” Brady said. “Maybe come back to us next year. I would like them to know that it isn’t because we don’t want to, but it is because we didn’t have the funds to fund other organizations that we wanted to, but that we weren’t able to.”
Commissioner Sam Nolte said, “Maybe come back to us next year and we’ll see how the budget is then.”
Brady seconded a motion denying the request to make a $3,000 donation to the Ellamore Recreation Department, which was seconded by Brady and passed unanimously.
Lemons said she was disheartened to hear the news that the county commission would not be donating money to keep the Ellamore Recreation Center doors open.
“We tried getting funding from other sources, and if we don’t get other funding from other sources, then we close our doors,” Lemons said Sunday. “We understand that they don’t get the money they used to. We have other letters out to the Randolph County Comission, and they have helped us in the past.”
Lemons went on to add that the Ellamore Vol. Department has been very understanding about the Ellamore Recreation Center’s inability to pay.
“They’ve been willing to work with us,” she said. “But ultimately, if we don’t get the money, then we close our doors. (The fire department) has been really good about us getting late payments, but right now, we’re down to the last few dollars. If we can’t pay the electric bill, then it’s going to be shut off. We have to pay that every few month; we have to keep that up. I think the bottom line is, if we can’t pay the electric bills, then we’re going to have to shut our doors.”
One of the great things about the Ellamore Recreation Center is that you don’t have to be a member to join in the fun or activities hosted there, Lemons said.
“You don’t have to be member at all,” she said. “Just show up there and participate in the activities that we have going on.”
If anyone is interested in helping to contribute, please mail checks to 740 Lantz Road, Ellamore.