CAMDEN — Mayor Karen Moss, village officials and others were present as a former Methodist church began its second phase of life as a 13,000 square foot event center, meeting venue and retail space on Saturday, June 19.
The Dover, dubbed “Camden’s first name in work and fun,” includes space for large events such as weddings and funerals, as well as office space for businesses and meeting areas for classes, workshops and other small gatherings.
The venue is named for the Village of Camden itself, which was founded as Dover, Ohio in 1818, and also includes a conference room, media center, food pantry, and a concession area offering baked goods and other snacks, according to Camden resident and co-owner Shannon Roden Steele.
Steele addressed Village of Camden council members about plans to turn the church located at 100 S. Lafayette St. into a community center during the council’s regular monthly meeting Thursday, June 3.
“We want to promote local businesses and bring more business into the community,” Steele said at that time.
Councilman Kelly Doran expressed enthusiasm for the project.
“I don’t know of anything like it in the county,” Doran said.
Current tenants at The Dover include The Little Shoppe of Sharing, a local nonprofit formerly located on Main Street in Camden which provides food, household items and men, women and children’s clothing to those in need, according to Steele.
“They do a lot of good for people in our town,” Steele said. Steele hopes to eventually pursue a grant that would allow a social worker to be stationed at the Shoppe.
In addition, a large community room is available to rent for private parties, while also playing host to dog training, Zumba and line dancing classes.
“Different events that provide education and fun for the community,” Steele said.
The Sugar Shack Cupcake Shop, meanwhile, will provide treats and sandwiches for The Dover Dive, which will also serve as a break room for those who work at the venue.
Additionally, a business center located upstairs offers meeting rooms, conference rooms, and offices for up to five local businesses, while a large space referred to as The Sanctuary will host large events such as weddings and funerals.
“We really hope this is a space that the whole community will use,” Steele said, saying that she and her husband, co-owner and village council member Jeff Steele, wound up purchasing the former church while looking for parking for a small apartment building they were renovating.
“So now here we are!” Steele said.
Steele stated that, as a pharmacist, she’s been working on different strategies to address health care needs in the community, and hopes that some of the office space at The Dover might one day be occupied by health practitioners.
“I think that’s something our community really needs – there’s a shortage of resources like doctors and counselors,” Steele said. “But that’s down the road.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish