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Betsey Mills Club building up future plans with renovations

Executive Director Kerry Jean Waddle adjusts candlesticks on the mantle in the newly renovated parlor at the Betsey Mills Club. Above the mantle is a large portrait of Betsey Gates Mills. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

MARIETTA — For the last 100 years, The Betsey Mills Club has helped women and children have a safe space.

Now, the spaces are being renovated to better assist the community.

Kerry Jean Waddle, who has been executive director for the last two years, said they decided to renovate when life started to come back after COVID.

The first room to be renovated was the parlor and can be used for wedding or baby showers, meetings or receptions, she said. It was refurbished at a cost of $30,000.

“Outside, we put in new shutters,” Waddle said. “People in the community reached out and this makes it look like life is happening again.”

Two pieces of art near the Betsey Mills Club offices show the houses before they were joined some 80 years ago. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

The gymnasium has been updated with new windows, paint and amenities such as air conditioning and bounce houses.

“We’re excited for the bounce house for birthday parties and rentals,” she said.

It also opened the club up for more programs such as babysitting and Kids Night Out.

Childcare rooms were created for before- and after-school care, during snow days or for teacher in-service days.

They hope to open a new infant and toddler care room by December.

“We always have 40 people on a wait list,” Waddle said, adding ramps, an egress to the outside, water stations and changing stations have to be installed before a toddler care room can open.

The club’s living room is in the process of being renovated. Waddle said they wanted to keep the room correct for the time period with new paint, flooring and ceiling.

“It’s a $50,000 project. We’ve raised 40 of the $50,000,” she said. “So, we’re optimistic.”

She said when finished, the room could be used for receptions, birthday parties or catered events.

“It opens us up for possibilities,” Waddle said.

She said there has been a lot of fundraising support because the club is meaningful to people.

“And it’s alive and thriving,” she added. “We’re trying to keep up with new programs. We want people to keep coming back”

Some of the amenities people may not be aware of are the heated indoor pool; furnished dorm-style rooms for women “of all stages of life”; and Betsey’s Closet, which provides free clothing to women.

Waddle said the dorms allow women to live in separate rooms with a common living room and kitchen.

“It’s a lower cost option,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of traveling nurses here, we’ve had a few graduate students and women who are leaving an abusive situation.”

She said it allows the women to have a safe space if they are in need.

“We usually always have a waiting list of one to 15 people,” Waddle said.

This year, they will be able to bring back their Christmas craft fair the first Saturday in December.

In 2027, the club will celebrate its 100th anniversary and they intend to do some sort of exciting project every year until the anniversary, she said.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

***

If You Go…

* Who: The Betsey Mills Club.

* Where: 300 Fourth St., Marietta.

* Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday.

* Amenities: Gym, indoor pool, newly renovated parlor, library, women’s dorms, library.

Source: The Betsey Mills Club.

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