WEST PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — When it comes to youth activities, some say that our community is lacking, and Portsmouth is ‘boring’ and there is ‘nothing to do,’ but one local non-profit organization is hoping to change that mindset.
The Complex, located at 1420 13th St., in West Portsmouth, offers a variety of activities not just for children — but folks of all ages.
“The Complex started out with a simple mission,” explained administrator Brandon Entler. “We just wanted to give kids a place to play sports all year round. When schools close for the summer, they miss out on physical activities.”
In 2007, Bobby Evans donated to the football complex including the stadium, field house and practice field.
In 2008, the remainder of the complex, including the building and surrounding property were able to be purchased.
Through these donations and the support of the community, the Complex has continually grown.
In the past year, they have hosted summer basketball leagues with 40 teams and over 300 participating. The Complex has also served as the home of West’s youth football, with over 250 children participating.
They also serve as the host sight for the New Boston/SOMC Basketball League on Saturday evenings and Sunday’s throughout the winter, with over 50 teams involved.
The Complex is also home to the West Portsmouth Tanks — a semi-pro football team.
And the programs continue to expand, with Bingo held every Thursday night and a flea market every Friday.
The Complex has grown beyond sports, now it is home to more than 10 store-fronts, each providing a unique service to supplement the area.
“A lot of people still don’t know we’re here,” said Jessica Kamer.
Kamer is the owner of ‘The Junk Drawer,’ a shop specializing in thrift finds, new and used gifts and collectibles.
“They don’t know that there are stores here, they think we’re just about sports. But we’ve really grown,” Kamer said. “There are a lot of talented people here who work hard to keep their business local.”
The stores cover everything from jewelry, custom clothing, prom consignment, crafts, primitive decor, hunting and fishing gear, wholesale name-brand items, to antiques, collectibles, a paint-your-own pottery studio and a frozen yogurt shop.
“We rent out spaces to local entrepreneurs, we want to help people achieve their dreams,” said Entler. “You can bring the kids out to watch a game, do a little shopping and enjoy some frozen yogurt from the Winner’s Cup all in one place without leaving town.”
But without the support of the community, all of this could disappear. Maintaining a property this large is costly, and aside from the store-fronts, all the money goes right back to the continual maintenance and expansion of the Complex.
“Everything we do, we do for the kids. And we just want the people in the community to know the services we provide so their kids can enjoy it and we wanted to do more for the parents to enjoy it too,” said Entler.
If you’re interested in renting a space at the Complex or have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or by call 740-876-8634 and ask for Brandon Entler.
You can also find ‘The Complex’ on Facebook, as well as ‘The Complex: Shopping Mall,’ for a full directory of shops and services, or online at www.wpysc.org.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara