Boys and Girls Club plans for expansion

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Boys and Girls Club has been promised $1 million by the future casino operators. Haven Gaming pledged the money when they applied to be the casino operator.

Club director Robert Gifford says they want to add more room. He doesn’t know how many kids they’ll be able to bring in with the expansion, but he says every single life has a big impact.

“In Haven Gaming’s pledge, is to let us use their architects to do all of our architectural design work pro bono, which is great, because there’s cost there that we would have to incur,” said Gifford.

The club is one of few Boys and Girls locations in the state that have an on-site location.

“We’re at capacity every year, we have been for the last six years with a waiting list of over 100 kids.”

They already service 210 kids during the school year. The building they’re in now is more than 16 years old. Although they know repairs are needed, their biggest focus right now is growth.

“It doesn’t take much for us to watch the news and see the increase in crime on the streets – increase in juvenile crime on the streets. That tells me that there’s a lot of need out there for families to have a safe place for their kids to go and also to teach them about making good choices – teach about conflict resolution skills and those types of things.”

If the boys and girls club get the okay for an addition, it will likely go on the back side of the building that already exists.

“My hope is that we’ll be able to add more kids, keep more kids off the street and possibly help our city and other cities cut down on crime.”

Contractors will be coming to the Boys and Girls club in January to give them estimates. They won’t know what they can do with the money until then.

Gifford says, if they get the addition, they will need extra donations. That’s because they will need to hire more people to help, and with the upcoming increase in minimum wage, it could be more difficult to pay workers.

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