In 1988 the City of Mansfield purchased the Creveling School and re-named the building as the Ocie Hill Center. After opening in 1989 the center and its gymnasium have become a magnet attracting services and people to the city.
The gymnasium was remodeled through a $200,000 grant from the National Police Athletic League. In the 2009-2010 basketball season the PAL basketball attracted 582 children from 24 zip codes in Mansfield and surrounding area. After a hard night of basketball, the thirsty, hungry players returning to Ashland, Bellville, Butler, Loudonville, Lucas or Willard undoubtedly leave sales tax dollars in the convenience stores or restaurants in the city.
In addition to the PAL influence at Ocie Hill, the center houses thirteen (13) agencies and serves as a distribution center for programs. IMAC, STAR, Help Me Grow, Kinship Care Navigator, Tutorial Reading Center, CHAP, Richland County Academy, Back to School, Summer Enrichment, Mansfield Recreation, Crosby Heritage Center, Culliver Reading Center, Richland County Board of Health Minority Health Fair and the Richland County Board of Health Immunization Program all use or contribute products to be distributed through the Ocie Hill Center. The agencies/programs housed at the Ocie Hill Center provide full-time or part-time jobs with a combined payroll that generates $10,700 in Income Tax for the city.
There are programs that originate within the Center that partner with outside agencies or sponsors to enhance the core service of the program. For example the RCA and Mansfield City Schools partner to provide the Success Center After School Program (SCASP).The Summer Enrichment Program provides homework assistance, math and reading enrichment, mental health services, recreational activities and educational field trips. Through partnership with outside sponsors other features are possible within the Center. The Huron County Community Action Commission, located in Sandusky, Ohio, has a mission “to promote self sufficiency and improve the quality of life of those in need". To further their mission the Huron County Community Action provides food to Ocie Hill Center to disburse to children grades K-12 as breakfast and lunches. From June to mid—July over 1,200 breakfast and 3,600 lunches had been served through this program.
Richland County Academy of the Arts and the Mansfield Art Center sponsor art activities and art enrichment programs to the After School and Enrichment programs. The Culliver Reading Center at Ocie Hill and its’ satellite center provides programs to enhance reading, writing and study skills of students in grades K—8. So far in 2010 eighty—two (82) children have benefited from the program at the Culliver Reading Center.
The Ocie Hill Center not only provides for an education for children but also health and family assistance as well. As a contracted provider to Richland County Childrens Services, the RCA/Ocie Hill Center promotes family centered services for expectant parents, newborns, infants, toddlers and their families through the Help Me Grow program. This program is aimed at the well being of children and families and provides educational activities and ideas, developmental screening and access to community services.
We have covered some of the educational and health programs provided at or through Ocie Hill Center/RCA. The physical fitness side of a healthy community is also addressed at Ocie Hill Center.
The Mansfield Recreation Department, now operating out of the Ocie Hill Center, was relocated from an off-site building resulting in a savings of $9,600 in off-site rental fees and utilities.
The Recreation Department runs the City of Mansfield softball, football and volleyball leagues. The Mansfield Basketball League (a separate program from the Police Athletic League) is also run by the Recreation Department. In the 2009-2010 season, 420 of our young people participated in these programs.
For those citizens who don’t belong to Gold’s Gym or lack transportation to the Mansfield Area Y, the Center houses a fitness center open to the public at no charge equipped with free weights, treadmills and other cardiovascular work out equipment.
Ocie Hill/RCA generates income through grant donations, rents as well as providing contract services for the Ohio Department of Children Services Help Me Grow program. While the Ocie Hill presence and footprint are large in the community, it’s draw on general fund dollars is small. In 2009, 17.8% of RCA’s budget ($127,531) was transferred from the general fund to the Ocie Hill/RCA budget. In 2010, the transfer amount dropped to ($73,000) or 7.9% of RCA’s budget.
The staff at Ocie Hill/RCA have a saying that sums up their mission to the community, "We are here today and everyday because this is the place, Where Families Matter.”