Thursday, December 3, 2009

Edinburg breaks ground on new Boys & Girls Club

Edinburg breaks ground on new Boys & Girls Club

December 02, 2009 10:23 PM
Jared Janes
The Monitor

EDINBURG — Alba Escobedo credits the Boys & Girls Club of Edinburg with where she is today. Escobedo, 21, joined the club when she was 7. It kept her out of trouble while growing up in a neighborhood full of drugs and gangs, gave her scholarships to get through college at the University of Texas-Pan American and kept her in the area with a full-time job as a grants administrator.

“I wouldn’t be here without it,” she said Wednesday at a groundbreaking for the club’s expansive new facility. “Now there’s no limitations for what (younger club members) can do.”

City officials, community leaders and a busload of schoolchildren gathered Wednesday to break ground on an $11.4 million project that will be the face of the city for many drivers heading south on U.S. 281.

The 20-acre plot of land near the intersection of U.S. 281 and Rogers Road will soon feature a full outdoor park with athletic fields, playgrounds and a walking trail.

The interior of the 32,700-square-foot facility — twice as large as the club’s old one on South 18th Avenue — will feature all the traditional club spaces, including a game room, cafeteria and gym.

Mayor Richard Garcia also announced Wednesday that the Edinburg Economic Development Corp. and IDEA Academy are planning new locations nearby.

The muddy groundbreaking on a chilly afternoon will put the Edinburg club close to its goal of opening the new facility by November 2010, the club’s 40th anniversary, said Sabrina Walker, the chief professional officer for the nonprofit. Fundraisers are $500,000 shy of the initial goal they set when they kicked off the capital campaign five years ago.

The club is raising the last of the money by selling sponsorship of square feet in the building, which will serve over 16,000 youth.

The city of Edinburg has contributed $2 million to the project using proceeds left over from when it sold a city-owned hospital in the 1990s.

City Councilman Gene Espinoza said the municipality’s investment shows it wants to improve the quality of life of local residents.

The large park surrounding the club will be..

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