"We want to be a good neighbor."

PLAIN TWP. The closing of the Edgewood Community Center came suddenly and with little warning, a victim of the coronavirus pandemic.


The building, located on the First Christian Church campus at 6900 Market Ave. N, will get new life as the ministry plans to repurpose the space, said Executive Pastor Jimmy McCloud.


McCloud said the building will be rechristened the Community Life Center and will primarily be used for the First Christian’s day services, which offers activities and job training for adults with developmental disabilities.


Reena Riley is the program’s director.


"We were definitely sorry to see Edgewood go," McCloud said. "They were great partners and neighbors."


Edgewood, which had 20 employees, was forced to close after failing to secure funds from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.


"They applied twice," said McCloud, who served on Edgewood’s board of directors along with Joe Beltz, First Christian’s business and operations director. "Because the board was not very active, I was unaware how bad things were because of COVID."


First Christian purchased the former Edgewood Golf Club property in 2002 for $5.1 million.


The former Edgewood opened in 2007 as a separate nonprofit.


In 2011, financial struggles forced First Christian to turn its deed over to a holding company. Today, the church’s facilities and the former Edgewood are owned by the Colorado-based Solomon Foundation.


McCloud said the church will assume the center’s lease.


McCloud said the space is sorely needed for its day services program, which currently serves about 90 adults. With more space, they can double their capacity and possibly add more programming to take full advantage of the center, which features a regulation-sized basketball court.


They are hoping to be relocated by the fall, he said.


"We have a waiting list. We get calls everyday," he said, adding that one-in-four families in Stark County is touched by developmental disability.


McCloud said the Family Life Center will be available for rentals, just like Edgewood.


"We're not intending the close the doors just for our own church," he said, noting that the church provides a playing field for Challenger Baseball and has worked in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Refuge of Hope.


First Christian is reopening for worship services on Sunday. Reservations are required. For more information visit https://www.firstchristian.com/inthistogether


"Our goal and our hope is to continue to be a positive asset for the whole community," McCloud said. "We want to be a good neighbor. We’re hopeful that this will be our newest opportunity to do that."


Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com


On Twitter: @cgoshayREP