Boys & Girls Club facility to close

The Midtown Boys & Girls Club facility in Paducah is shutting its doors on June 1. The building dates back to the 1940s and is in need of repairs that cost more than the organization can afford right now.

Executive Director Don Dorris said it’s a decision he doesn’t take lightly. He became director less than three months ago and knew he had to find ways to cut costs to keep the facility open.

“We looked at utility costs. They are higher here as well. We looked at financial considerations and maintenance costs, all of these things, to determine the best option,” Dorris said.

He said he realizes it’s hard to switch buildings, but they needed to close down one facility to keep the program going.

“Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club is more than just this site. This is the third place they settled on. It’s going to continue to go on. That’s my jobs: to make sure it continues to be an organization to help kids,” Dorris said

The facility on Park Avenue, which is newer, houses kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. As of June 1, middle school and high school students at the Midtown facility will have to join them on Park Avenue.

Dorris said to get the Midtown facility running like Park Avenue’s would take at least $100,000.

Cracks surround the gym walls, allowing sunlight to go through, and its ceilings have water damage. Some rooms are off limits because they’re in such a bad state.

Dorris said they’re only able to budget on a month-to-month on basis.

“That’s why I think some of the maintenance has fallen off —because we were so tight on funding,” Dorris said.

He said they can’t keep up with higher utility and maintenance costs.

“Many people think we are given money each year by the U.S. government, the state, the city, or the Boys & Girls Club. We aren’t,” Dorris said.

Administrator Stella Owen said change is necessary to keep the program running.

“I know it’s going to be different. It’s going to be different for me, but we all have to adapt,” Owen said.

Owen said she wants their kids to know that they’re still going to be there, that they’re just going to be in one location. She said they look for money where they can, and sometimes staff work without pay.

“I love these children, and I’m not the only one who does, all of our staff does we are worried about our finances because we need to stay open we need to exist,” Owen said.

Moving everyone to this newer location will save them $27,000 in one year. Dorris said they also won’t have to spend $65,000 in necessary repairs for the old building, allowing more money for programs and paying their debt.

He said they’re not planning on selling the old building right now, and they’re looking at any opportunities to fix it while keeping their program afloat.

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