Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Fire disrupts Clifton activities

Center's events forced to move

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CLIFTON - Hundreds of people, from kids to senior citizens, will have to find new places to go to learn ceramics, take dance class or play basketball while their community center is repaired after a Sunday night fire.

The first priority Monday was shuttling the 100-plus children who use the center for before- and after-school programs to other Cincinnati Recreation Commission sites. Some parents showed up to drop off their kids not knowing the McAlpin Avenue facility was closed.

The center serves at least four area schools with after-school care, activities and study halls. Officials transported many of them by bus and van to Kreuck Recreation Center in Clifton Heights Monday afternoon.

Clifton Center, like the other 28 across the city, offers dozens of classes like Jazzercise and adult pottery, plus athletic leagues. Most of the leagues will now play in College Hill.

"There are things going on there every day for all ages," said Bunny Arszman, recreation department spokeswoman. "This is going to certainly affect the community."

The fire, reported just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, started in the director's office on the second floor. That room was destroyed, and another adjoining office heavily damaged. Officials did not release a damage estimate Monday.

The intensity of the heat caused second-floor windows that overlook the gym to blow out, said Kathy Shannon, supervising recreation coordinator. Some of the flat part of the roof was damaged, she said.

To find out about your class or sporting event, call the recreation department at 352-4000.

After Thursday, officials hope to have updates on their Web site, www.cincyrec.org.

E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com

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