Home News City Set to Kill Project that Promises, “Something for the Kids to...

City Set to Kill Project that Promises, “Something for the Kids to Do”

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According to Kristen May, the Vice President of ArtsaAround, her organization has a comprehensive plan to open an arts and life center at the former Everts Middle School Gym, and it won’t cost the city anything to run. “It is the ‘something for kids to do’ that everybody has been asking for,” said May. The city bought that building for this kind of use in 2015, after a community focus group in 2012. Now, they’re talking about selling it off to the highest bidder. In an auction, the facility will likely bring far less than it’s estimated 1.2 million dollar value, May said.

ArtsaAround has received financial commitments from the State of Ohio and Pickaway County for over $400,000 to use for renovating and operating the facility. With the city’s blessing, they could likely pick up another $200,000 grant and millions more over the next decade from public and private sources, according to May. The city has lost two bowling alleys, one skating rink, three movie screens, and two public swimming pools over the last decade, and May said, “This is the answer to the constant demand for ‘something for kids to do'”.

May said, “It is highly likely that Circleville City Council will seek to make a rushed judgment about the vacant portion of the Everts building on Tuesday, October 3rd, 7:00 PM. We, the Circleville community, may lose this opportunity to transform this historic school into a vibrant center for the arts, recreation, and lifelong learning.”

The Pickaway Arts and Life Center promises to be the largest independent activity center for youth in the history of Circleville. It will house sports, entertainment, theatre, arts, maker spaces, youth and adult education, professional and academic mentorship, and more. May said it won’t happen at all if the city moves to sell the building.

We met up with Kristen May and Susan Weinberg at the Buckeye Room at Gibbys to get some more details about the project.



  1. There’s nothing for kids to do? We have the library with infinite programming options, Charmion Performing Arts, YMCA Creative Arts Center. We have Roundtown Theater, TWO ceramic shops (Orange You Glad and Inspirations), and endless paint parties at Rhoads. That is just within Circleville. Why not partner up with some of these groups, and try to build community rather than create separation for the arts.

  2. Very unfortunate headline. Hopefully focusing on unbiased news remains a priority vs opinionated titles.

  3. If the Council votes to sell it at auction, then every voter in Circleville needs to vote all of them and the Mayor out at the next election !!!! I grew up in Circleville for 23 years of my life and every time I come home it breaks my heart to see how rough it has become. Kids need all the support and guidance they can get in this crazy world. Save the gym and give the kids a safe place to go and be kids !!!!!!

    • Who is to say someone won’t purchase it with the intent to provide kids with a safe place to go? Artsaround doesn’t have the money to keep something like this running…

    • How much would this cost per kid so we can determine if it is worth the taxpayer expense or not? And, who are those kids? What is the demographic?

      How much would administrative staff be paid?

      I can only find 990 forms for the ArtsaAround organization from 2006 – nothing more recent – So, what evidence do we have that shows they would be competent administrators of such a large amount of taxpayer money?

      I would suggest that before we go off and condemn the City Council, perhaps we should see more concrete financial facts, especially ROI, long term cost benefit analysis and a breakdown of how much the folks running this are actually paid, and why they should be trusted with said funds.

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