DJ Bizzy, aka Mark Smith, spearheads community center

Shawn Hardy
Mark Smith, left, known in Hollywood and beyond as DJ Bizzy, is director of the nonprofit group that wants to build a community center in Greencastle. Kristen Ott- Sutherin, a fellow member of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 1998, is treasurer and Colin Swain, a Blue Devils basketball teammate, is in the committee. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT.

For DJ Bizzy, entertaining 50,000 people at a Hollywood event is no problem.

Put Mark Smith in front of 30 chamber of commerce members in Greencastle and he starts to sweat.

In both towns — and beyond — he's found a home on the basketball court.

"Philly, New York, Detroit and L.A. are not easy places to find real community," said the 1998 Greencastle-Antrim High School graduate and son of Linda Shank of Greenvillage and Dwight Smith of Raystown.

"In every city, I made friends with basketball. Basketball built a community for me where community was scarce," Smith told chamber members last week as he introduced the idea for a community center in Greencastle.

Smith and a team of locals have formed a nonprofit organization and are ready to start raising funds.

The chamber audience included Smith's G-A Blue Devils basketball coach Garon Gembe, teammate Colin Swain, a member of the committee, and classmate Kristen Ott-Sutherin, who serves as treasurer.

The group also includes Jason Cohen, secretary, and members Kerri Fugate, Shane Myers, Andrea McCauley, Kelly Tracy, Greg Gembe, Jimmy Azar and Mark Siner.  

Ideally, the community center will be close to Jerome R. King Playground so kids can walk to it.

They envision a facility for arts, music and athletics with space for basketball and volleyball, classrooms and potentially a stage — a place to go inside when it is snowing or raining.

They are keeping their eyes open for sites where businesses have moved or shutdown, but they may have to build to get what they want.

Ideas being considered as fundraisers include an adult prom ("Being a DJ, that one's easy," Smith said); a float and run, with tubing on the Conococheague from Talhelm's to Martin's Mill covered bridge followed by a fun run; or a weight-lifting event.

The goal is probably around $1 million and realistically the timeline for opening a community center is two or three years. Details about how to get involved or contribute will be announced later.

"I feel like this is a forever fundraiser," said Smith. "This is home even though I pay rent in other places."

*** About DJ Bizzy ***

After graduating from Greencastle-Antrim High School in 1998 and attending school in Philadelphia, Smith was hired by the media and entertainment company Clear Channel to work in Detroit. He later moved to Los Angeles where he is a music producer, radio personality, podcast host and works in artist management.

DJ Bizzy's credits include a long list of elite red carpet events; premiere activities for films from "Frozen" to "Hunger Games" and "Magic Mike" to "Batman: The Dark Knight"; and private parties for celebrities like Emma Roberts, David Arquette, Steven Spielberg, Kenny Wormald, Chris Pine and Rob Dyrdek.

According to the website djbizzy.com, "In the past decade Biz has opened for Prince, Stevie Wonder, Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Camp Lo, Dipset, Eminem, D-12, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, Liv Taylor, Common, Estelle and Odd Future amonst other."

DJ Bizzy has toured with rapper Juicy J and is working on the first release for Wizzle Nation, an artist from Jamaica that he's signed to his company Cheese On Everything.