Thursday, April 3, 2003

Rec centers to undergo renovation

Cost estimated at $4 million for Millvale, Westwood plans

By Jean Williams
Enquirer contributor

Two of Cincinnati's neighborhood recreation centers will be getting makeovers this year, and the director of one of them is seeking temporary operating space during renovation.

The Millvale Community Center on Beekman Street will be able to remain open as the Cincinnati Recreation Commission puts an estimated $2.4 million worth of work into it.

But the Westwood Town Hall Community Center, at Harrison and Montana avenues, will have to temporarily close. The commission has estimated the cost of upgrading the Westwood facility at $1.6 million, said Jim Garges, CRC director.

Most of the work to be done in both buildings is bringing mechanical systems, such as heating, electricity and plumbing, up to date, said Jeff Koopman, who will manage the renovation projects.

The Millvale facility is about 30 years old and also needs a new roof, additional air conditioning, handicapped accessibility and some architectural changes.

Westwood Town Hall dates to the 1880s, and served as a town hall when Westwood was a 19th-century suburb of Cincinnati.

But while work can be done around the various activities at Millvale, which houses a city-run health and dental clinic and a church-run day care as well as other services, the Westwood Town Hall will have to close.

The Town Hall's two theater groups have been offered temporary space at a church and another west-side community center, said Westwood Town Hall Director Diann Hamant.

But Hamant is looking for space to run other community programs, such as after-school care for children, a summer day camp, a variety of adult classes and civic group meetings. The Town Hall also puts together a well-attended "Winter Wonderland" for the Christmas holidays, but Koopman said that will occur before the building is closed.

Both projects are to begin in late October or early November, Koopman said.

Garges wouldn't estimate how long the Westwood Town Hall will have to be closed, but another CRC facility, the Lincoln Community Center on Linn Street in the West End, was closed for nearly a year, he said.

"Our facilities, because of their age, are due for this type of renovation," said Garges.

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