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Grant can't help open Boys and Girls Club doors

March 08, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Gov. Bob Wise has awarded a $22,500 grant for the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County, but the grant cannot be used to reopen the financially strapped organization, officials said Sunday.

In January, officials with the club announced the organization would be shutting down Feb. 2. The move also forced the closing of a satellite center in Shannondale, W.Va.

After dealing with rising debt, operating losses and high fixed costs, the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club decided it no longer could operate the center, which is on North Lawrence Street.

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Since then, the community has rallied to save the club.

The City of Ranson has offered to fund the club in an amount not to exceed $3,000 a month and a group of developers has offered to give the club $17,000 a month for three months, club officials said.

Club officials also have asked the Jefferson County Commission for at least $60,000 in emergency funding to help open the club.

The commissioners are studying the request.

The $22,500 grant from Wise will be used to install a roof, heating and air-conditioning system, flooring and to install equipment like computers in a section of the building where club members want to develop a "teen center," said Pamela Holstein-Wallace, a member of the club's board of directors.

The area will be a place where teenagers can go and be separated from younger kids, Holstein-Wallace said.

The grant will not help in reopening the club, club officials said.

What the girls and boys club needs now to reopen is money for operational costs and the grant from Wise cannot be used for operational expenses, said Del. Dale Manuel, D-Jefferson.

Manuel said the grant may be able to free up some other operational money that was going to be used for equipment like computers.

What the club really needs is an infusion of operational cost money, Manuel said.

If the club gets the funding from the commissioners, the City of Ranson and the developers, it would be enough money to reopen the club for six months, Holstein-Wallace has said.

That would give the club time to study other ways of cutting costs and raising money, she said.

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