DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Actions Sports Center was one of the many businesses destroyed by the Memorial Day tornadoes.
The indoor and outdoor sports complex commonly hosts outdoor baseball, soccer, and other sports tournaments throughout the year. The indoor facility was used for a variety of indoor sports, as well as the location of the Dayton Minor League Hall of Fame.
The main building is now scheduled to be completely demolished and rebuilt. The tornado winds ripped the roof off the building and caused catastrophic damage throughout the facility.
The outside baseball diamonds had fencing and dugouts destroyed as well as losing power. The baseball and soccer fields were covered in debris and trash.
In the immediate days following the tornado, crews and volunteers worked to open four of the eight outdoor baseball diamonds so that the facility could continue to host tournaments throughout the summer.
The facility is currently still open and operating outdoor sports, but there is a lengthy process to go through until the tornado damage has been completely repaired.
Kyle Coby, Action Sports Center owner and operator, said he was absolutely devastated when he pulled into the business the day after the storm. He had no idea what it would take to reopen the business or if they would be able to reopen at all.
“The first four fields were pretty simple,” said Coby. “The other four fields were a complete rebuild of the fence.”
Cleaning up the fields was a large task, but easier to manage than the devastation endured by the main building.
“We had a really good feeling the building was going to be unsalvageable,” said Coby.”We immediately made plans on what exactly we were going to do, how we were going to rebuild, and got everything together.”
Coby said the business has seen a great deal of help and assistance from friends and other businesses, but has faced a series of setbacks and issues during the weeks following the tornado.
The largest problem Action Sports Center has faced has been theft.
After the tornado destroyed large chunks of the building, Action Sports Center was unable to completely secure the grounds during the hours that no one was there.
Building walls and doors were destroyed, leaving open spaces throughout the grounds for thieves to get into the building undetected.
The cost of permanent security was not included with insurance and owners said that police are limited in their ability to cover the large, darkly lit area.
According to owners, thieves have stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of copper, metal, and other scrap parts throughout the grounds. Thieves commonly steal these items and sell them off-market.
“It’s been ridiculous,” said Coby. “Our building has essentially been picked clean of copper, metals, anything like that. We can’t keep them out. We don’t have any way to secure our facility because our front gate was blown apart.”
Owners also said they have also lost three golf carts as well as major components to still-working equipment, such as an electric box, that they now have to replace.
One looter was arrested for trespassing on the property, but owners believe the thefts are the work of many individuals.
In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, owner Kyle Coby talks about some of the theft issues the business has faced after the tornado:
Cleanup has slowed because of slow dumpster pickup
Debris, branches, and trash scattered everywhere across the Miami Valley in the wake of the tornadoes and trash companies are still working to clean up the area at a reasonable pace.
In the immediate aftermath of the tornadoes, Action Sports Center said insurance covered their ability to rent multiple dumpsters and rapidly remove the trash and debris scattered throughout the grounds.
The business has used up the insurance money they could allocate to this service. Now, because of high demand throughout the area, trash companies are unable to pick up their single dumpster more than once every two weeks.
“There’s not a lot of dumpsters readily available in the area,” Coby said. “The process is slowly but surely coming together. We’re getting it as efficiently as we can.”
Action Sports Center grounds still have piles so debris from cleanup and more waste ready for disposal, but are unable to get what remains removed quickly. Owners said they understand that many homes and businesses in the area were affected and they must remain patient.
“It’s for obvious reasons,” Coby said. “You can only do so much work at one time.”
In the gallery below, see photos of the destruction and recovery at Action Sports Center:
The business plans on being fully operational by Spring of 2020.
Action Sports Center opened all eight of their baseball fields for tournaments in the weeks following the tornado.
Fencing has been completely redone along the fields, while dugouts and new benches are still being completed. Games have been able to continue as scheduled.
The soccer fields are also completely cleared of debris and will be available to patrons.
Action Sports Center hopes to have the old building torn down during the fall season. Their goal is to have a new building constructed and open for business by March of 2020.
“It’s probably a pretty aggressive goal but not unrealistic,” Coby said.
Owners said that although the recovery and cleanup has been slow at times, it has also gone faster than they initially believed possible and are grateful for the help they have received from the community.
“We’ve been really fortunate with who we’ve had help us rebuild,” Coby said. “We’ve had a lot of people really reach out to help us. It’s been an overwhelming amount of support.”Grab the FREE WDTN News App from the Apple Store or Google play. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen.