According to Palenick, the proposed facility could include a commercial grade, culinary incubator/kitchen, a Boys and Girls Club, and an early childhood preschool center.
Marlon Styles Jr., superintendent of the 6,300-student Middletown Schools, said the plan would position the district as a focus point in the city.
“Middletown Schools wants to be the heartbeat of the community, meaning we need to be there after school hours. By partnering with the City of Middletown and Butler County with the (federal) American Rescue Plan funds, we have a rare opportunity to give our community a family-friendly facility where children of all ages can have fun in a safe environment,” said Styles.
No vote was taken on the proposal at the joint meeting but Middletown Board of Education member Todd Moore had concerns, including questions on whether the project would be the best use of the school district’s share of the federal money.
“Middletown City Schools has an opportunity with (this) federal funding to solve long-term district problems with class sizes, capacity issues with the high school and middle school - all without asking voters for a tax levy. We shouldn’t spend money on any project until the district addresses problems facing the district first,” said Moore.
“While the community center project has merit, we must consider other district needs. Before we invest $4 million in the Community Center, we must first address the needs of the district,” he said.