Elida receives building for community center

By Laurie Stone

By Laurie Stone
PNT Staff Writer
The Elida Masonic Lodge is donating its building on South Main to the town of Elida, requesting that the citizens of Elida use it as a community center.
A decision was recently made to consolidate Elida’s Lodge members with the Portales Masonic Lodge due to a decrease in membership — the Elida Lodge has 43 members. That consolidation left a building without a purpose in Elida.
Kyte James, worshipful master at the Masonic Lodge said, “The board agreed to donate the building to Elida as a community center because its members, in Elida, would still be able to benefit from the building. It was best to give it to the community rather than to the senior citizens center because seniors can benefit from it even if it’s a community center,” said James.
“The town is ecstatic about the potential possibilities of having its own community center,” Elida mayor Gerald Lee said. “We want everyone to have a voice when deciding what the community center should have in it because it will benefit all age groups when it’s completed.”
He said he especially wanted to encourage Elida’s youth to speak up and convey their ideas as well, because they will be the ones running the town and standing in his shoes some day.
On Sept. 8, an assembly was held at Elida schools for students in grades 7-12. They were asked for suggestions regarding their interest and for activities that could be added to the community center.
Tyler Anderson, 14, recommended pool tables as one of the activities found at the community center. He said he felt the community center was a good idea.
“It will give us a place to go after school and will help keep us out of trouble,” Anderson said.
A suggestion box is still available for the students in the receptionist’s office at the high school.
Should the community center come to fruition, plenty of work will be needed. Johnny Ledbetter, director of the Portales Recreation Center, said he went to 14 different recreation centers in neighboring cities seeking activities that would work for the Portales Community Center.
Ledbetter said there are a lot of codes and regulations that must be followed when shaping a community center because kids are involved, but the outcome makes it worth the work in his mind.
“It’s a preventative measure.” he said, “because it keeps kids off the streets, out of gangs, off of drugs and gives them a release from daily activities.”
James said the Masonic Lodge was preparing a quick claim deed for transferring the building to the city of Elida within the next month to six weeks.
The Masonic Lodge will present the deed to the Mayor during an upcoming town meeting, which is held the second Monday of each month.
Mayor Lee said the community center is an important issue in Elida, but is third on his priority list, behind financing a city water system and acquiring a sanitation truck.