Martin County rallies behind community center

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:03 PM EDT
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INEZ, Ky. (WYMT) - The Roy F. Collier Community Center closed its doors this week. In a Facebook post, the center shared that its board members met with Martin County officials deciding to temporarily close the center due to COVID-19 restrictions.

News of that decision spread quickly through the area, leaving people to wonder if the community center would be the next casualty of the pandemic. Facebook posts popped up from all over the community, sharing their fears and spreading a desire to save the center.

“This community center is, I heard someone say this morning, the beacon of this community,” said community member Donna Fitch.

While the center is closed to the public, with more than 15 people out of a job, some of the tenants of the building, like No Limits Fitness and the Career Center, remain open.

Donna Fitch has been a part of the community center in one form or another since its inception. She said her children, both adults now, grew up in the center and worked there in several different roles. Her son Logan was still working in the theatre that is now closed as well as the gym.

“This place is just a teaching facility. It is a community center, but it also teaches good values,” Fitch said.

Fitch said the center isn’t a place where the community meets, but a place that makes the community.

“I think, so often, that we take that for granted and we just think that we’re here to take care of ourselves,” she said. “But we’re not. There’s a bigger picture in everything.”

A few community members volunteered their time to clean the facility and maintain the lawncare as the staff waits to hear when they can return.

”There are places like this and there are people that will give of themselves and they will sacrifice for the greater good,” said Fitch.

The statement from the fiscal court and the RFCCC board says they are “committed to keeping the community center operational,” adding that it will “remain an integral part of the community” and asking for the community’s patience.

“We rise as a community by coming together, lifting each other up, and moving forward. And I hope that’s what happens,” said Fitch. “I hope the leaders in this county can come together and they can make a change and we can re-open the doors.”

She said hope and faith are all the community has left as they wait for answers that could impact the generations of Martin Countians to come.

See the joint statement from the fiscal court and community center below:

Due to the ongoing restrictions of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Roy F. Collier Community Center has temporarily ceased operations. All tenants remain open for business.

RFCCC Board members have met with County officials and all agree that the RFCCC will remain an integral part of the community. Both the RFCCC Board Members and the Martin County Fiscal Court are committed to keeping the Community Center operational as it is the hub of our community. We ask that you be patient with us as we navigate this time of transition.”

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