Perrysburg Heights center reopens to serve children PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 01 October 2013 09:51
Pedro Ramirez (front), 12, and Tegan Rankin, 16, work at computers Monday afternoon at the Perrysburg Heights Community Center. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - Perrysburg Heights Community Center has reopened and continues to provide after-school tutoring and activities for children in the neighborhood.
When faced with an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Office last month, representatives of the community organization said the resulting attorney's fees would likely bankrupt the center; however, the group is pressing on with its goal of providing a haven for children to interact and learn.
"We're getting back to what I believe is SLps our mission here," said Jason Craig, treasurer for the Perrysburg Heights Community Association.
The organization had financial troubles even before a handful of residents wrote the attorney general's office, alleging the PHCA was being operated improperly. An attempt to cut expenses by eliminating its payroll and relying on volunteers led some to challenge the current board's commitment to the neighborhood.
Craig said many of those who opposed him and other board members have returned to the fold, now convinced that they do indeed have the best interests of Perrysburg Heights at the forefront of their goals.
More than 20 children regularly visit the community center after school, not only to play games and have fun, but to improve their studies. There's currently an hour of tutoring each day, an offering Craig hopes to expand after a fundraising campaign that's about to get underway.
(From left) Taylor Craig, 12, Tegan Rankin, 16, and Cameron Ramirez, 10, work on homework Monday afternoon at the Perrysburg Heights Community Center.
The group set a lofty goal of $50,000 this year to not only go toward operating expenses like utility bills, but also to hire additional tutors from the Perrysburg school system to offer more academic help.
Craig said the group is "bordering" on becoming self-sustaining as rentals of the building, booked at least once a day through May, should cover most costs. But it's still hurting for cash, and has put off hiring an attorney to deal with attempted sabotage of PHCA's festival in August and several contracted groups that did not show up.
Craig said a representative of the attorney general's office met with him, board President Jesse Spier and other board members last week to review evidence that "rebutted" some of the claims made against them.
There wasn't much feedback provided that day, he said, but they were shown several ways the board may be able to improve the way it operates and relates to the public.
Complaints made against PHCA last month centered around a lack of notice provided in advance of meetings, and claims that Spier had a conflict of interest as president and a renter of the community center for his Toledo Sport and Social Club.
Spier insists he rented the community center at the full rate and previously provided documentation to the Sentinel to assert that claim. He said a relationship between the two organizations is mutually beneficial.
Craig said he was told the investigation could take anywhere from two months to a full year to complete.

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