Pastor Touts Future Of Youth Center | News, Sports, Jobs

photo by: Alan Olson

Pastor CJ Plogger addresses the city council about his plans for the future of the area around the church.

MOUNDSVILLE — A community church is hoping to remodel its part of the block into a youth center, women’s crisis center, event center and daycare, with the first parts opening later this summer.

Pastor CJ Plogger, with the Ash Avenue Church of God, gave a tentative Labor Day opening date for the Future of Moundsville Youth Center, finding new purpose for the former Solid Rock Church. In addition to the youth center, a new three-story building will serve dual purpose, housing Wellspring Pregnancy Center and a safehouse for battered, estranged or women in need.

A new building will house the multi-ministry center, doubling as an event center, and the current church sanctuary converted into offices and a Christian preschool and daycare, which Plogger hopes to someday blossom into a Christian school.

Plogger spoke before Moundsville’s city council at an otherwise light meeting Tuesday evening, explaining the broad strokes of the plan to expand the church’s campus, brimming with new purpose.

“God has given me, and Ash Avenue Church of God, a vision – it’s a four-phase vision,” Plogger said. “… We believe that Moundsville is a great city, and we want to make sure others know it’s a great city. We need to put time into our kids, and put our time into women who are being battered and abused.”

The youth center will operate Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:30 pm until 7:30 pm, with Saturday hours from 10 to 6. The center will focus on youths from 12 to 18.

The center will also hold tutoring, which students will be held to if their grades slip. Tutoring and supervision will come in part from community members and West Liberty University’s education department. A recreation area will include pool tables, air hockey, foosball tables, and video game consoles. It will also feature a computer center, music room and quiet room.

Plogger said that, as of Tuesday, work on the interior of the building was around 70% finished, and that the city fire chief and building instructor had been of great help during walkthroughs to address areas of concern and needs.

In addition, he said the center would address recreation and fellowship for kids outside the age range of typical youth-oriented programs.

“We intentionally chose this age range because you all in the city are doing some great stuff – the splash (pad, at Four Seasons Pool) is wonderful, but you’re not going to get a 15-year-old running under a flower -shaped sprinkler. … If you’re 15, you don’t want a 7 or 8-year-old there, either.

“There’s opportunities for kids, the little guys, but other than school activities there’s not a lot of activities for our youth in this age group,” Plogger added. “We wanted to provide a place, but a place with expectation. … They’re coming to be taught how to be better human beings.”

In other council matters, city manager Rick Healy said the city had received part of the $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan funding it would be receiving.

A large portion, around $1.1 million, would go to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, such as water, stormwater and sanitation. The rest, Healy said, would go toward grants to assist the community in other ways, such as a business assistance grant, a resident exterior renovation grant, and a food bank and nonprofit-assistance grant.

Businesses that can demonstrate a loss of revenue during COVID can apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding, and residents could be eligible for the same amount for upcoming exterior renovation projects.

“I feel like we can spread the money around and really help a lot of different people,” Healy said. “… It’s a small amount of money; Businesses really took a hit during COVID, everyone knows that. We felt that we needed to do something for our businesses. Once they meet the guidelines and they’re eligible, $5,000 may not go that far, but it’s a good step, as far as saying, we’re going to throw this out and help you.”

Applications will be available at the city building or online beginning Monday.

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