The Morenci Recreation Department held a grand opening for the Clifton Gym and invited the community to celebrate.

August 8, 2018
The Copper Era

Years after being closed with the shuttering of the Clifton School District, the Clifton High School Gym is being put to good use. Last week, the Morenci Recreation Department held a grand opening for the Clifton Gym and invited the community to celebrate.

Clifton Fire Department grilled hot dogs, and the Recreation Department held raffles for guests, while children played in bounce houses, and played volleyball and basketball on the courts. There was also a raffle to compete in, complete with toys, T-shirts and first aid kits. Former Clifton School administrator and current town Mayor Luis Montoya was on hand to help cut the ribbon for his former school gym.

This effort was funded by Freeport-McMoRan to benefit the children in Clifton and Morenci. The Copper Era spoke with Assistant Director for Morenci Community Service Kia Gaethje at the grand opening.

"We are having a re-grand opening of the Clifton Gym for the community. So we're going to open it up for children to come after school for after-school programs and also for open basketball," she said, "The gymnasium up in Morenci seems to be really busy with other programming that's going on, so we don't want to just turn people away. We want to offer them the alternative to come down here to shoot around and do their basketball."

Gaethje said that in addition to the gym, there is a side room full of activities for children and that the Recreation Department is interested in running programs there, such as karate and jiu-jitsu.

"We have gymnastics up at the Morenci Community Center, which usually draws female crowds, but karate could draw both. My sister went all the way up to a black belt," Gaethje said. "We just want to revitalize the community and get children who might otherwise not have the opportunity to go to Morenci; they can come here. We're looking to create one big community. That's what our goal is, unity, and that's what we're doing here."

 

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