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Mike ‘Smitty’ Smith believes in restorations

REFURBISHING — Mike “Smitty” Smith stands on the basketball court he is refurbishing at his new Sportatorium located in the historic former Catholic Community Center Building on Fourth Street in Steubenville. -- Amy Neeley

STEUBENVILLE — Mike “Smitty” Smith is known through out the region for two things — flooring and wrestling.

The young businessman recently bought two properties in the city and will be using them to fulfill both parts of his public life.

Smith restored the foraon Fourth Street, giving it a fresh coat of paint and new hardwood floors. The building will now be the home to Smitty’s Flooring Warehouse.

It’s the 148-year-old building next door that really spoke to Smith’s heart, he said. Built in 1873, the building was the longtime Catholic Community Center, a place that was packed with young and old alike back in an earlier time.

Smith is renaming the building the Sportatorium and hopes to bring back some of its former glory.

“I believed this building has too much history to lose,” he said.

The Sportatorium will now be making its home in the building.

“Our main goal is to get kids off the couch and off their electronic devices and get them involved and socially active through exercise,” Smith said.

Smith says the building offers exercises classes, zumba and yoga in the newly renovated gym four days a week.

Through the winter months, the facility will house a youth wrestling program for pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Mitch Knapp, a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler from West Liberty University is the the coach for the class.

Smith plans to offer wrestling camps during the summer that will be headed by wrestlers from Ohio State and Penn State.

The gym also offers batting and golf cages.

Smith said he hopes to expand to basketball and volleyball games.

He said his dream was to return the place to being a community event center.

“We want to rent it out for birthday parties, meetings and corporate events,” he said.

For information on the Sportatorium, call (740) 278-8016 or-mail smitty43952@gmail.com. The Facebook site Smittysfloors.com Sportatorium.

Smith said young people who are interested in taking part in a group but who lacks the resources to pay can contact him and he will try to help them find sponsors.

“We want to see downtown continue to grow as as a destination for eating, enjoying historical sites like the fort and for exercise,” Smith explained.

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