TOP STORY OF THE DAY, brought to you free by WICU: R.E.I.N. Center eagerly awaiting completion of Buell Center

Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Construction of the Wilma & Liston Buell Center in Clay City was nearing its start last month, as crews prepared the land in Goshorn Park for the foundation.
Joey Bennett photo

The R.E.I.N. Center in Clay City currently does not occupy a single physical space, but once the Wilma & Liston Buell Center is completed in a few months the organization will be able to consolidate and expand its activities.

R.E.I.N. stands for “recreation, education, information and nutrition,” and organization president Dave Kirkling is looking forward to the day when the transition will be completed.

Currently, the R.E.I.N. Center library is housed at a corner store front building in downtown Clay City, while the food pantry is run through the Orange Building located in Goshorn Park (just north of where the new center is being constructed).

Kirkling and the other organizers are hopeful that the town’s residents will be able to utilize activities covering all four words making up the group’s acronym.

Kirkling estimates that R.E.I.N. began over 10 years ago, but cannot recall the exact date.

“The library has been functioning for at least four or five years,” Kirkling noted. “It’s really growing, and membership is growing. A lot of people are using it, and we have good volunteer help that comes in to help people.

The R.E.I.N. Center library currently occupies a corner building in downtown Clay City.
Joey Bennett photo

“A lot of people donate books, too.”

The food pantry will be able to operate much better in the new building, which broke ground earlier this summer.

“There will be a lot more space, a lot more refrigeration and better access for people,” Kirkling said. “Bob and Cathy Walters run the food pantry, and they do a great job with it.”

The "Orange Building" in Goshorn Park currently houses the R.E.I.N. Center Food Pantry.
Joey Bennett photo

Once the community center is build, Kirkling notes that several plans are in the works to add many more activities to be able to reach an even larger audience.

“We will have a room available for meetings or big parties like wedding receptions,” he said. “We can host fish frys there with a full kitchen available for them. Clubs like 4-H or Boy Scouts can meet there.”

Kirkling added that an arts and crafts room will be available, with the Clay County YMCA being in charge of running that programming.

“They will also be offering exercise classes, dance classes and Silver Sneakers for older people,” Kirkling added.

The building will have 5,600 square feet of usable space, and Kirkling thinks it will be a great addition to the community.

The Buell Center will house the R.E.I.N. Center library and food pantry, as well as offer space for additional community activities.
Submitted photo

“It’s going to be a great building, and will offer all the services anyone could need,” he said. “I don’t want to put down the Orange Building, but it’s hard to heat and when it rains water leaks inside. A lot of people will utilize this new building, and it’s going to be a great addition to the community.”

Construction had been scheduled to be underway by this point, but as of mid-week last week work continued on laying gravel to help support the foundation.

Kirkling said the builders are sticking to their original goal of having the center finished by the end of the year, but realizes there are some uncontrollable factors that could slow things up.

“The weather can always slow down any building project, and it’s always possible the builders may not be able to get all the materials they need,” he said. “That’s what they’re shooting for. They are a reliable company, and they know what they’re doing.”

Once completed, Kirkling noted the building will officially belong to Harrison Township, which will be responsible for its upkeep and general administrative work.

“It will become property of the township and the park,” he said. “The R.E.I.N. Center will help with that also. The township can do whatever it wants in terms of charging for activities, and I’m sure they’ll charge something [to help with maintenance costs].”

Kirkling said the group also hopes to utilize the facility as a voting center for elections.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: