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Girls Inc. plans $1 million gym

January 26, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Girls Inc. of Washington County, a Hagerstown youth club for girls, plans to build a $1 million gymnasium at its Washington Avenue facility.

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The new gym would give the club an indoor basketball court and could double or triple the number of girls involved in the club, Girls Inc. Executive Director Maureen Grove said Monday.

"I think it'll attract more older teens because those sports like basketball and volleyball attract the older teens," Grove said.

The club's main recreational room now is a multi-purpose room primarily used for dance and gymnastics.

Basketball and volleyball games are played at the Hagerstown YMCA.

"But we don't get a lot of practice time, and even they struggle with not having enough time for everyone," Grove said.

She said Girls Inc. officials have been discussing the need for their own gym for six years.

"We're excited. We've been waiting for this for a long time," she said.

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Club officials hope that construction could begin next year and the gym could open within two or three years, she said.

The club has about $140,000 of its own money earmarked for a gym. It also has a $250,000 grant from the state, $30,000 from the Washington County Gaming Commission, $5,000 from the Hagerstown Rotary Club, and $1,000 from the Long Meadow Rotary Club, Grove said.

This spring, the club will begin a fund-raising campaign to raise the rest of the $1.5 million needed for the project. The money will be used for construction and to establish an endowment that will provide money for maintenance, Grove said.

Girls Inc., a private nonprofit group, has been in Hagerstown for 50 years and has been at 626 Washington Ave. since 1963. About 250 girls between the ages of 5 and 18 are club members, Grove said.

Hagerstown's Board of Zoning Appeals approved plans for the gym on Jan. 15. The city must give final approval to design plans and grant a building permit for the project.

For information about the fund-raising campaign or the club, call Grove at 301-733-5430.

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