EKY recreation center slowly rebuilding to pre-flood form

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 2:59 PM EST
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WHITESBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - It was almost six months ago when muddy water broke through the Letcher County Recreation Center doors and covered the first floor.

The center reopened to the public earlier this month, but the first floor remains unfinished.

“You know, the downstairs, whether it was the bowling alley or party rooms, or the basketball court. You know, that was probably about half of the people that showed up here,” Letcher County Recreation Center Director Jeremiah Johnston said.

50% less consumer traffic not only makes the place less busy, but also has cut their revenue in half.

“We lost our winter time youth basketball. We didn’t get to host that this year, you know,” Jeremiah Johnston said.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6

Without a basketball court, there is only so much they are able to do because of dangerous spots in the floor.

“You can see the orange cones. There’s poles sticking up where the volleyball (net) used to go through. So, we can’t really do a bunch in here without having a safety hazard,” Jeremiah Johnston said.

A new court is not exactly easy to come by. Johnston said the number will likely be six digits long.

“I’ve never had to replace a basketball court. I can only imagine that will cost a lot, and it is. It’s gonna be anywhere between $150,000 up to $250,0000 just for the basketball court,” he said.

Even though a timeline has not yet been set, people are eager to hear when everything might be finished.

“Every day there’s somebody asking the same questions, you know. ‘When, when, when,’ and you know, ‘what’s taking so long,’ and again there’s just so much bureaucracy I guess that goes on. Again, where we’re a government building, it’s not like we can just go find the first contractor to go fix it,” Johnston said.

Officials say the basketball court will be a top priority, but they are hoping to get everything finished as soon as possible.