ALLEN — The community center at Stumbo Park will remain closed indefinitely, after thieves stole the building’s heating and air conditioning unit over the weekend.
A popular spot for families to gather for birthdays, anniversaries, reunions and baby and bridal showers, the center is generally booked solid every weekend throughout the year.
County Judge-Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall said he hates to close the center, but feels he has no choice, considering the county’s tight financial picture. He said the county will have to wait for insurance to pay to replace the unit — a 6-year-old heat pump estimated to cost between $7,000 and $8,000 — before a new unit can be installed.
“I would like to be able to just call somebody and have them fix it, but I can’t,” Marshall said. “Until we can recoup our money, it will probably have to wait to be fixed.”
Marshall said the thieves most likely stole the four-ton heat pump Sunday night, but officials weren’t made aware of it until the next day. He said the woman who manages the center stopped by to do some cleaning and was told the air conditioning wasn’t working.
“She walked outside there and she said, ‘No wonder,’” Marshall said.
The judge said the heist is just the latest in a series of problems at the park, including vandalism and nighttime drug use. He expressed frustration, considering that the county has spent a lot of money to improve facilities at the park, which include renovations to the golf course, a new clubhouse and a new playground.
“It’s pitiful you can’t have something without people breaking and stealing,” Marshall said.