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Dance supports new roof for community hub




NORCATUR -- The city has been working to put a roof over its head for many years.

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NORCATUR -- The city has been working to put a roof over its head for many years.

And now, fundraising has put the city closer than ever to finally completing the project at the former Norcatur Grade School, which has become a hub of activity since the city took over the building. An Era Dance on Saturday night brought approximately 50 from the Decatur County community --  some dressed from the '20s, '80s and other eras -- to raise a little extra for the project.

City Clerk Deb Marshall credits her daughter for the idea.

"We've been working really hard on getting people to recognize Norcatur more," Marshall said. "It's just something to come have fun with."

The newly air conditioned auditorium of the building wasn't as cool as community leaders hoped after the 108-degree afternoon, but it didn't deter couples from two-stepping and children from dancing in circles around their parents.

Marshall's daughter, Andrea Spanier of Oberlin, said she was happy to support her hometown's effort to keep the building usable for another generation.

"I want to see things last," she said.

The community uses the former grade school for a variety of activities, housing the city office, library, museum and local news office. During the summer, the city shows movies for kids using a screen, projector and Blu-ray player donated in memory of local residents. Jodi Lyon pops the popcorn for those movies and did so Saturday night for those attending the dance.

"When they need something, they just call me," said Lyon, who retired from her job in Oberlin three years ago.

She planted flowers outside the building -- and stopped to pull a few weeds before entering the dance Saturday night.

"I don't really belong to anything. ... I just volunteer," she said.

And that's what it takes to keep the community going. Much of the funding for the roof project came through donations, according to mayor Carl Lyon. He said the city is working on a number of projects to improve quality of life.

"We've been working on the roof a long time," he said. "We're finally going to get it done."

Work already has begun to complete the new peaked roof, providing protection from the elements for the city's livelihood.

"This building is the hub of the town," Marshall said.