Youth Club Weighs Redevelopment Plans

Posted December 12, 2007 at 4:35pm

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington is accepting proposals from private entities, public agencies, developers and community groups to redevelop four of its D.C. locations, including the Eastern Branch located on Capitol Hill near Lincoln Park.

“We intend to re-invest proceeds from this process back into the youth of Washington, and we look forward to continuing our long tradition of serving youth who need us most in our nation’s capital,” Will Gunn, president and chief executive officer of the organization, said in a statement.

The Eastern Branch, located at 17th Street and Massachusetts Avenue Southeast, closed on Aug. 17 because of a lack of funding and membership. A community meeting will be held at the Eastern Branch at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss redevelopment options.

Neighbors United, a local community group spearheaded by former Ward 6 council candidate Will Cobb, has been working to get a joint lease with the Boys & Girls Clubs to open an all-ages community center at the Eastern Branch site. Earlier this year the group received an allocation of $350,000 from the Washington, D.C., budget and was working to get nonprofit status.

“Our focus is two-prong,” Cobb said. “One is getting programming up and running, to be competitive for grants and to really start having an impact … The second to that is to get a long-term facility.”

Representatives from Neighbors United plan to attend the meeting on Tuesday.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington has been serving the District for more than 120 years with assistance from a merger with the Metropolitan Police Boys & Girls Clubs in 2003. The club currently serves 30,000 children through 19 clubs, two outreach centers and a summer camp.

— Alison McSherry