Boys and Girls Club to request $2 million in park funds
The Boys and Girls Club of Alameda is asking the City Council for $2 million in regional park bond money to help the club build its new facility. The city had planned to use the money for a host of other park improvement projects.
The club’s leaders had hoped to start work on their new facility in May (they’ve already done the official groundbreaking). But they’ve had trouble securing the rest of the money they need to build it. (The club’s current estimate to build the facility is $8.2 million; their fundraising campaign lists a goal of $10 million.)
“This is the last piece in our financing. If this is approved, we will start building the club right away,” the club’s executive director, George Phillips, said. He said that if the city gives its okay, construction could start in two to three weeks.
Without the money, the club could lose some or all of the $3.3 million in grants it has secured to help build its new, 25,000-square-foot facility, which will site on the site of the old Woodstock Elementary School at 1900 Third Street. The club has pulled in about $1.5 million in cash and another $562,017 in pledges, and they anticipate getting another $750,000 in grant money and $600,000 in donations to help pay the expected $8.2 million cost of the new facility.
The club left its old Lincoln Avenue location four years ago after its leaders determined it made more sense to build a new facility than to spend the $2 million it would have cost to seismically retrofit the old one. It has since operated in a limited fashion at Chipman Middle School and in the Esperanza public housing complex.
The city had developed a list of projects to spend the bond money on, including renovation of recreation buildings in Littlejohn, Woodstock and Krusi parks and resurfacing tennis and basketball courts in Washington Park. But they have not yet applied to the East Bay Regional Park District for the funds, this council referral report says.
Phillips said he talked to the parks district and they told him the club project could qualify for bond funding.
“I think the Boys and Girls Club recreation center is a unique opportunity for the city to leverage funds for a much needed ‘shovel ready’ project,” said Councilwoman Lena Tam, who referred the item for the council’s agenda. “All the prior allocations of park bond funds were for facilities on the East End of town, and we need high-quality community facilities on the West End.”
Tam’s referral said the the new club would offer $30 million in services over the life of the new building. The club is to include a gymnasium, teen center, game room, computer lab and space for a long list of activities to serve an estimated 3,400 youths a year.