County, service agencies explore creating Trimble Township community center

Downtown Glouster could see a new, multipurpose community center with services for children, seniors and people in recovery from substance misuse.

GLOUSTER, Ohio — A new, multipurpose community center with services for children, seniors and people in recovery from substance misuse may be coming to downtown Glouster.

The project is proposed for the site of the former Three Star Club for Senior Citizens at 1 Cross St., along Sunday Creek near downtown. The property features a large meeting hall, a kitchen and outdoor space, said Athens County Commissioner Chris Chmiel. 

The Three Star Club’s board transferred the property to Hocking Athens Perry Community Action in early 2022, HAPCAP Executive Director Kelly Hatas said in an email. She said HAPCAP previously rented the space and hosted free meals there for seniors.


The idea of repurposing the former Three Star Club grew out of conversations about the need for recovery services that Chmiel convened with service providers and local officials.

The group has met three times to discuss priorities for the former senior center and possible sources of funding. The most recent was a Feb. 2 call involving Chmiel, Glouster Mayor Samantha Sikorski and representatives of HAPCAP, the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, the Athens Reentry Task Force and Athens County Children Services. Various other partners have been involved in discussions so far as well, Chmiel said.

Hatas said, “Based on the input from these meetings, it seems like there are several priorities that are rising to the top once we have our structure in place—namely, recovery meetings, services for seniors and youth, and emergency food access.”

Services for a broad range of ages also is a priority for HAPCAP, Hatas said.

“Since we came to own the property, we have been thinking about how best to utilize that space in a way that meets our mission and serves the whole community, including seniors and youth,” she said. Creating a community center for Trimble Township youth had long been among the agency’s goals, she added. 

Becky Handa, an Athens County Children Services school outreach worker based in Trimble Local Schools, has been active in community discussions on the use of the former senior center and emphasized the importance of resources for youth.

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“The school is truly an island of resources until 3:30 p.m.,” Handa said in an email, adding that the district does not currently offer an after-school program. 

Although the Glouster Public Library meets some after school needs for local youth, “the more resources, the stronger the safety net,” Handa said.

“A multipurpose community center is exactly what the Trimble community has been missing,” she added. “A fun, safe place after school for youth to come together offering food, education, resiliency skills, and socialization. The possibilities are endless!”

Although the timeline for full implementation of the project is unclear and hinges on funding, Chmiel said, a group of social service providers will begin offering some programs at the site soon, likely including evening meetings for people in recovery.

Having various programs hosted at the site means that funding probably will come from various sources, Chmiel said. The county may be able to direct funding to the project from its senior services levy and the $8.6 million OneOhio settlement with national opioid distributors, he suggested. The Athens County government received just under $40,000 last year through its first settlement payment, with payments set to continue over a total of 18 years.

“I really feel like we have enough funding sources if we can stitch this all together,” Chmiel said at a Feb. 2 meeting.

Meetings will continue over the coming weeks as the group works to gather more input from residents, implement some programming at the space and explore funding. 

“The vision is to … create a flexible, multipurpose space for all that is responsive to ongoing needs in the community,” Hatas said. “The goal is to have a community space that can be used for programming by both HAPCAP staff and community organizations, including the recovery community.”

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