Business & Finance

Community House Opens Gymnasium on Main Street in West Orange

Children play in the newly opened West Orange Community House gymnasium Credits: Paul Cito
Children play in the newly opened West Orange Community House gymnasium, 250 Main Street in West Orange. Credits: Paul Cito
A decade after the former theater building was purchased by the West Orange Community House the gymnasium is finally opened. Credits: Paul Cito

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Squeaking shoes, dribbling basketballs and children’s chatter now fill the once empty and dilapidated cavernous space next door to the West Orange Community House. After a decade of work and some setbacks, the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium on Main Street is finally open.

“It’s really a nice building, but I’m biased,” said Paul Cito, executive director of the Community House, whose vision for renovating the former theater into a gym has finally come to life.

The facility, located at 250 Main Street, opened quietly in February and hosts free drop-in basketball several days a week for children ages 12 to 17. Those who use the gym must register, adhere to the rules and are welcome to come and go. The hours for drop-in basketball are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12:15 p.m. and 3 p.m

Sign Up for E-News

Although the venue is open for the youth, Cito cautions that it is not a childcare facility. Kids can enter and leave at will, he said.

“The kids have to fill out an application to be there and understand that this is a privilege,” Cito said. “We get them in there, teach them some manners and responsibilities” like picking up after themselves and following the rules, he said.

The gymnasium is a welcome addition to the downtown corridor, said Megan Brill, director of the Downtown West Orange Alliance. According to Brill, the more people who use the facility, the more likely they are to patronize other local businesses in the area.

“The Heart Of The Community House and their board has always been one of serving the children in our community,” Brill said. “With this new facility, they will be able to serve a lot more kids and a lot more families.”  

The addition of a newly renovated building in the heart of downtown also helps encourage other businesses and storefronts to improve their buildings and fill any vacancies, Brill added.

“It's really amazing what the community house was able to do with that huge space,” she said.  

For now, the gymnasium is designed to have one full-length basketball court that can be used as two practice courts and has a total of six baskets, much like a middle or high school gym. A newly built vestibule, paid for by a township grant, features restrooms, storage and a small lobby.

But that’s not the end of Cito’s vision for the facility. He is looking to install portable turf that can be rolled out and rolled back up so the space can also be used for soccer, a popular sport in West Orange. Cito said that a $40,000 price tag for the turf is hefty, but would allow the space more use and more partnerships with local organizations.

Cito is also looking into drop-down batting cages that can be safely stored above the court in the 45-foot high ceiling. A suspended batting cage could cost around $13,000, he said.

“The goal is to have a multi-use building,” said Cito. “It certainly serves basketball, but I’d be happier if it served more.”

In order to offset the costs there a dozen 3-foot-by-6-foot banner advertisements, like those hung in many school gyms, being sold. Interested parties should contact Cito directly at the West Orange Community House, 973-736-1282 ext. 17.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

April 20, 2018

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

MAX Challenge of West Orange - 2 Weeks FREE and more...

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The MAX Challenge of West Orange is about to start its next challenge.  Sign up before April 9, and you will receive maximum benefits, including two weeks free!



12 weeks for the price of 10
Unlimited fitness classes 
Nutritional ...

County Announces Improvement Plans for Grover Cleveland Park Playground and Tennis Courts

April 20, 2018

CALDWELL/ESSEX FELLS, NJ — Nearly $1.2 million in improvements will be made to modernize the Essex County Grover Cleveland Park playground and tennis courts.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. announced his improvement plans on Friday morning, stating that Grover Cleveland Park is a popular site for families and children, and that the playground and tennis courts need to be ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

West Orange High School, West Orange

FREE self-defense and safety seminar for teens ...

Health & Wellness


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity


Letter to the Editor: Lions Club of West Orange Spaghetti Dinner

April 16, 2018

Dear Editor,

Since 1953, the Lions Club of West Orange has been recognized throughout the township for our service to the blind and visually impaired. A majority of the world’s eye banks, clinics, and eye research centers are established and supported by all Lions Clubs throughout the world.

We are men and women committed to helping provide quality eye care, eye ...

West Orange Community House Seeks Community Sponsors

April 17, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Boys & Girls Club at the West Orange Community House (WOCH) has opened its new 9,000 square foot recreational facility at 250 Main Street in West Orange.

The WOCH has been supporting families of West Orange for 100 years, and needs help to continue providing much-needed recreational programs to West Orange. By placing an advertisement banner on the gym ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...