MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - UPDATE 8/30/19
After months of renovations and years of planning, the second floor gym at the Marietta armory is back open.
City and school officials held an open house Friday night to celebrate and welcome the landmark back to the community.
"It feels really good," Marietta city schools board of education president Doug Mallett said.
"This is a victory for all of our kids in town," school board member Mark Duckworth said, "our businesses in town and our coaches and our community and our parents and families that are wanting to be involved in their children and grandchildren and having somewhere to practice."
Marietta City Schools signed a 20-year lease with the city, raising over $75,000 to help the city access $100,000 in matching funds for the project. They will use the space for sports practices and school events. The space will also be available to the public to use.
"We set this up also for adult recreation," Duckworth said. "We have two pickle-ball courts here that we hope will be utilized during the daytime hours before the school kids get here."
Now city and school officials say this project was a long-time coming but they also say it will be a long time score for the community.
"Hopefully it will help the downtown area with people down here dropping kids off, they’ll patronize the restaurants," Mallett added, "and so forth downtown so we see this as a good win-win situation. We’re happy the city decided to partner with us."
"This kind of was the epicenter of downtown when I grew up," Duckworth said, "and it's great to have it back to where it used to be and we envision many great things happening here in the future."
The city is now working on plans to soundproof the lower floors from the expected noise of sport practices.
Marietta city officials will open the doors of the newly restored Armory Square gym downtown to the public for a sneak peek during Marietta Main Street's First Friday event.
After almost 10 months of work and seven years of planning, the gym is almost finished. The work involved repainting and restoring the brick walls, repainting the ceiling, removing the catwalks, installing new basketball hoops, putting protective guards on the window and more.
The final step that remains is resurfacing and re-striping the gym floor.
Mayor Joe Matthews expressed thanks to everyone who has helped bring the armory back to life.
"We've spent $1.7 million since 2012 on the armory, refurbishing it," Matthews said. "Now the gym floor is the last thing to get done here."
"The grants that we were able to pull together and the community coming together," city development director Andy Coleman said, "we were able to save the building, you know phases at a time, but it is remarkable just in the last year what's been able to be done, you know partnering with the school system to get the gymnasium ready to open it up to the public."
Officials say once work begins on the gym floor, it will take three to five weeks to complete.
First Friday will be from 5 to 9 p.m. and the public is invited to stop in and see the new gym and grab a piece of cake for Marietta's birthday.
Marietta City Council approved a 20-year lease with city schools for the renovation and use of the second-floor gym of the Armory downtown.
The vote occurred Monday afternoon during a special council meeting.
Supporters say the project help both the schools and the community.
"I'm really excited because I know not only will our children benefit but in addition to that, our downtown businesses I think will benefit because of the fact there will be a captive audience here," councilwoman Cindy Oxender said
"It's a win-win situation here for our kids and our community," Marietta City Schools Board of Education president Doug Mallett said, "so I'm pretty excited now, after a long journey, we finally got to the end of this. And I appreciate her shepherding this forward for us. It's going to be real important for our kids and I know it will be good for the downtown area as well."
Mallett says they hope to have kids in the gym by the end of the year.
The vote to approve a 20-year lease with Marietta city schools for the renovation and use of the second floor gym at the Armory downtown has been delayed.
City Council was expected to vote on the issue at its meeting Thursday but Councilwoman Cindy Oxender says it has been moved to its meeting on June 21. This is because more time is needed to draft the legislation involving the lease and the different funding sources coming together for the project.
ORIGINAL STORY 6/4/18
The Armory in Marietta may soon start seeing more foot traffic.
Marietta city schools submitted a $60,000 bid to renovate the gym on the second floor of Armory Square.
The city is eligible for up to $100,000 in matched funds from the state capital bill for renovating the Armory.
The renovation will include refinishing the floor, repainting and restoring the brick walls, painting the ceiling, installing permanent lighting (temporary is in place now), putting screens on the windows and HVAC system, adding padding to the walls, adding some safety regulatory equipment like missing exit signs and putting doors on the entrances to the unrenovated towers.
Supporters say the project will give city schools more desperately needed space for activities, while driving more traffic back to downtown businesses.
“It’s a win for the school system because the school system doesn’t have adequate gym space for all of its practices that they need," City Director of Development Andy Coleman said. "They need basketball space, volleyball space, cheerleading space, drill team space. And this can provide that as well.”
“The city having the armory as an anchor in the downtown will be bringing lots of families back into the downtown,” City Safety-Services director Jonathan Hupp said.
City Council votes on a 20-year lease with the schools at its meeting Thursday.