Task force will be charged with revamping neglected Dayton Community Center
DAYTON – A task force will be formed in the coming weeks to keep the Dayton Community Center, a monument of the area’s history, from becoming a relic of the past.
Once the hub of Dayton’s political and community activities, the building is in danger of becoming irrelevant out of neglect.
Lyon County Commissioner Jeff Page made it clear the county does not intend to abandon the building but cannot guarantee funding in the upcoming years.
“The county has no desire or intent to close the community center, but what you see is what you’re going to get,” Page said.
Nearly 40 of Dayton’s residents and leaders joined together in the community center Tuesday to discuss the future of the building as part of a workshop hosted by Lyon County commissioners at the request at the Dayton Regional Advisory Council.
The community center building was built in 1918 and used as Dayton’s high school until the late 1950s.
Throughout the years, it has served as a community center and was the hub of the county’s recreation programs until that department went defunct around 2007.
The building now houses the offices of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey counties, Central Lyon County Youth Connections and some employees of Lyon County Human Services.
Although it is available to community activities, coordinators say, the rental costs now are too prohibitive.
Jannette Hoffert spent 18 years working in the county’s recreation department and spent much of her time working on the building.
She oversaw an inmate work crew that spent four days a week for four months straight rehabilitating the historic site.
From then on, she committed herself to the upkeep of the building, calling on the county to complete larger tasks but doing the smaller ones herself.
“I’m pretty handy,” she said. “I can do lots; like I climbed up there and sealed the sky lights. There’s nobody left to just do it, so I’m willing to.”
She said she would perform any light maintenance or janitorial services the building needed. She called on others to do the same.
“We all want to save the community center,” she said. “That mean’s we’re going to have to step up to the plate.”
However, Page cautioned that a plan needed to be created systematically rather than focused on volunteers.
“We need to make sure that whatever we design is not personality-based but process- based,” he said. “If that’s the case, after some time it will fail and we’ll be back here again.”
Participants at Tuesday’s meeting suggested partnerships with the county, with a stewardship to oversee the community center. Others suggested it be taken over by a nonprofit organization.
However, the commissioners decided in favor of taking the advice to their next meeting and creating a community task force to research the possibilities and costs associated with each.
Russell Harig, a member of the advisory council, said it will be the first step for a community that has felt a sense of disconnect in recent years.
“It’s part of the rebirth of the community,” he said. “This is a great jumping off point. We don’t need the golden Taj Mahal, we just need some functionality for our kids.”