- Michael D. Pitman Staff Writer
Hundreds of area residents — and their children — toured the $6.9 million Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty on Sunday, a month before the facility opens for business.
The 30,000-square-foot club at 8735 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Olde West Chester has been labeled as one of the best clubs in Ohio, according to Boys & Girls Club officials. Patti Alderson, one of the club’s board members and a founder, calls it “a real game changer.”
“This is a place where they can go after school, they’re safe, they’re encouraged to learn, they have an hour of homework, they have a gymnasium, they have an art studio, they have a green room to make films, they have a library,” said Alderson, who was in charge of the private fundraising and solicitation of state grants. “We’ve got it all.”
And “all” also includes large and colorful activity areas, a performance stage, study areas and classrooms, a clinic, outdoor sports areas, and a café with a juke box.
West Chester Twp. parents Marcus McCurdy, Sr., and Josh Kimble have high hopes for the building.
“(It’s) something new, and very interesting. Something we’ve never experienced before and I’m pretty sure the kids will enjoy it,” said McCurdy.
Kimble believes it will be a positive place for the kids of the community, saying it will give kids a place to hang out with other kids in the community.
“It’s a great opportunity for my two kids to have an opportunity to go somewhere after school,” he said. “(My wife and I) both work and it’s difficult to find somewhere to have them, and we don’t believe they’re quite ready to stay at home (by their selves), so this will be a perfect place for them.”
Within a couple years of operating, Alderson said she hopes “everyone feels the closeness that we can create. The kids that live north of us in Liberty Twp. versus the kids that live to the south (in West Chester), they’re going to get to know each other, they’re going to become friends.”
The Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty new facility, which is six-times larger than the current location on Smith Road, will open on Jan. 4 when students within Lakota Schools return from winter break.