HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The A.D.Lewis Community Center has a new director -- someone who already has a plan in place.
Maria Meadows is no stranger to the community and no stranger to the community center itself. We caught up with her Monday on her first day on the job.
“The floors shouldn’t be slippery, but they are and that makes it hard to play basketball,” Meadows said.
She is already building a pretty hefty to-do list for the A.D. Lewis Community Center. Like a child on their first day of school, she's full of nerves about what the future holds. But on her first day as the director, she already has a plan.
“My goal is to get many more people using the facilities and people feeling better about the facilities,” Meadows said.
That all starts with a facelift.
“We need to scrape the outer layer of paint off the walls and put on a fresh coat of paint," Meadows said. "The entire cafeteria needs to be redone. We need a new TV, and I’m going to rip out the bookshelf. Also, our roof is leaking. We can’t even paint until we re-do that,” Meadows said.
She certainly is no stranger to the center.
“I grew up here at the center," she said. "My father, Tommy Hill, ran it for many, many years -- more than 15 years and I'm definitely a center kid. So, it's exciting to give as much of not more than my dad gave to the community."
One of Meadows' biggest challenges will include re-opening the pool. It didn't open last year because it's literally falling apart. Early estimates figure about $250,000 to replace the pool, saying repairs aren't an option. Meadows says not so fast.
“I want to find someone who can patch it up because our children shouldn’t have to be bussed out of the city to swim during the summer,” Meadows said.
Finally, Meadows worked at the Huntington Police Department for eight years as a records clerk. She hopes that will help her build a better bridge between Huntington Police and the youth of the community.
“The officers used to stop in and play with us," Meadows said. "That was so much fun, and I got to know a lot of the older officers from here."
“Anytime you can deal with children person-to-person instead of as a police officer is better,” Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook said.
Holbrook said he’s anxious to get his officers over to the center to volunteer and interact with the children. He also spoke highly about the work Meadows did for the police department -- confident she'll take the A.D. Lewis Center to the next level.
Now, Meadows needs the community to get involved -- donations of labor and supplies are most immediately needed to repair the building. In particular, she’s looking for paint and folks who can provide labor to paint, wax and re-seal floors and install a rubber roof.