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home : hope-area news : general July 23, 2017

3/11/2017 6:47:00 AM
WTHR show highlights Hope gym repair efforts
Photo courtesy of Jeff Yarnell.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Yarnell.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Yarnell.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Yarnell.
Indianapolis television station WTHR Channel 13 is planning to feature the efforts to repair the old Hope Town School gymnasium in an upcoming news program.

A TV crew came to Hope on Thursday to film at the gymnasium and locals gathered to display their gym memorabilia and talk about their memories of the building.

The Community Center of Hope, which owns the gymnasium, announced plans last month to try to restore the 1930s gym to its former glory, rather than demolish it. The building, constructed in the midst of Great Depression by the Conservation Corps, used to be the site for pickup basketball games, donkey basketball fundraisers and other performances on its stage, as well as the former home of the Hauser Jets and the Hope Red Devils. The gym, part of the old Hope Town School, has fallen into disrepair including a leaking roof, with all the associated damage, and a mold problem.

But on Thursday, volunteers put a shine on the old building to talk to TV journalist John Stehr.

Chelsea Kendall, executive director of the community center, said the center could not have asked for a better turnout.

"It was great to see the amount of people that were in attendance to support saving the gym and wanting to see it get used again," Kendall said. "We were blessed to have WTHR take an interest and come out to shed light on the gym situation and hopefully gain some funding to get a project going."

Kendall said the center contacted Barb Johnson, director at the Yellow Trail Museum, who brought memorabilia as well as arranged for people to come and talk about their gym memories.

"We appreciated having community members present so they could get a glimpse into the needs of the gym," Kendall said. "We contacted Barb Johnson for assistance and it was wonderful to have her support. (She) was able to supply us with memorabilia from the school and made a couple of calls to have folks present to show their support as well."

Jeff Yarnell, president of the community center board, said he was proud to see so many people take an interest in the gym and he also appreciated Johnson's support.

"This could be a huge step in the appropriate direction to see the gym renovated and available for use," Yarnell said. "It was wonderful to have people show up (Thursday) and listen to their stories about the gym. The entire time people were there they only talked about the gym. We so much appreciate the support and the media coverage as we hope to see this as a positive movement towards the gym renovation."

The community center also thanked Jessica Deckard, Diane Miller and Colin Hunter for their support during the filming.

WTHR has not yet announced the date the program will run.

Related Links:
• Community center eyes certification, gym renovations

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