Ralph W. Phillips Center still meeting community needs
Big changes are afoot for the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation and Civic Center owned by the Greenfield Rotary Club. After decades of housing the Head Start program operated by the Highland County Community Action Organization, Head Start moved out in 2021 to begin a new chapter at HCCAO's new facility at 1300 Jefferson St. in Greenfield.
"We have had a great partnership with Community Action for many years," commented Greenfield Rotary President Ron Coffey in June 2021. Head Start provided a valuable service for the community and our agreement with Community Action helped us to maintain the Rec Center.
Once Head Start moved to its new location, a new chapter soon commenced at the Phillips Center when representatives of Tiny Town Child Care and Learning Center signed a lease agreement to operate child care services there. "We feel that Tiny Town came along at just the right time for Rotary and for the village of Greenfield, as child care services are needed here," Coffey said. "Tiny Town gives working couples an option for child care while the parents are on the job, and the facility will provide opportunities for learning and social interaction as well."
Tiny Town is expected to open for business in the near future as soon as some licensure issues are finalized.
"The owners of Tiny Town have experience in the child care business and seemed happy to have a facility that was suitable for their purposes," Coffey added. "it was a true win-win kind of situation."
Tiny Town will have use of most of the first floor of the Rec Center as well as access to the gymnasium during the day, and when it is not in use for other purposes.
Numerous other groups utilize the gymnasium on evenings and weekends for basketball, volleyball, parties, receptions and other events. "When word got out that Head Start was leaving, some of those groups were concerned that we might close the Rec Center or sell it," Coffey said. "The lease with Tiny Town allows us to continue renting out the gym for special events. We hope this relationship with Tiny Town will be a long-term connection that benefits the community on many levels."
Many improvements have been made to the Rec Center over the years, and Rotary leaders hope to continue this process going forward.
All income from rentals goes back into the property sooner or later. “None of this would be possible without the community support,” Coffey said. “As long as the community supports us by using the building, we plan to keep maintaining it.”
Rotarians are already compiling a list of improvements to be made when funding is available. A bit of history
The former Ohio National Guard armory at 156 Jefferson St. in Greenfield was erected by the state of Ohio in 1927, and when it was no longer needed as a National Guard armory the property was sold to the Greenfield Jaycees, who ran it as a recreation center for several years. David Moon, who was a member of both the Jaycees and Rotary, was instrumental in convincing the state to sell the facility to the Jaycees in 1975, and Moon helped coordinate the center’s operation for many years. When the Jaycees organization folded, the property was transferred to the Greenfield Rotary Club, with Moon continuing to coordinate its usage for many years.
Another major player in the activities of the Greenfield Rotary Club and in the operation of the Rec Center was Ralph W. Phillips. When Phillips became ill in 1998, the club decided to honor him by naming the facility after him.
For more information about renting the Ralph W. Phillips Community Recreation and Civic Center, call (937) 403-0024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.