Boys and Girls Club request on council agenda
Tuesday night marks another chapter in the page-turning saga that is the Boys and Girls Club’s $2 million WW request, with Councilwoman Marie Gilmore asking her fellow dais-mates to push the club’s request for money to help build its new facility forward without assurances they’d sought that the bond money can be used for the facility.
The council had asked for a letter from the East Bay Regional Park District’s bond counsel saying that the bonds – which East Bay voters approved in November 2008 for park and open space projects – could indeed be used to help build the club’s new facility.
City officials had said they expected the letter to come by the end of last week. But the park district’s staff has since said they want more time to think about this, and that a determination will now not be made until early next year.
The club’s leaders have said that they can’t move forward without the WW funds, and that they fear the loss of some of the grant money they’ve won to build the facility if they don’t break ground by the end of the year.
Gilmore is asking the council to move forward on submitting an application to the park district on the club’s behalf, based on assurances from park district management that this is a kosher use of the funds. She’s asking the council to bring this to a vote at its December 1 meeting.
Requests for the local grant money are likely to be submitted in February or March 2010.
The club’s leaders had raised $6 million of the $8 million they estimate they will need to build a new, 25,000-square-foot facility on school district property next to the Woodstock Child Development Center – but they were unable to gather the rest, they said, in the face of a tough economy. If their request is submitted and approved, they’ll get $2 million of the $3.4 million in WW funds the city is getting directly, but will have to pay $1 million back over the following five years.
The club’s request has caused a storm of outrage among open space advocates who feel it should be spent on city-owned parks.
For more information, you can check out all the stories we’ve written so far on this (plus a few other random things) right here.