The Kenosha Boys and Girls Club has officially moved into its new 80,000 sq ft. facility on 52 St. and 14th Ave.
Staff has already moved in and children will begin using the facility amenities very soon, said Wally Graffen, chief executive officer of the club. “We worked really hard to develop a space that was really functional for all our needs,” Graffen said. “This new Community Center will give us a chance to increase our membership from 5,000 to 10,000 kids over the next five years.”
The two story facility houses two full size gymnasiums, a performing arts area, computer labs and Kenosha’s first indoor soccer facility, Graffen said.
“The center is going to help draw people to downtown Kenosha as well as draw people into our programs and our mission,” he said. “In addition to the youth center it will have a dedicated space for Kenosha teens that was planned and designed with input from teens in the area.”
The Kenosha Boys and Girls Club has also formed partnerships with organizations like the Spanish Center, the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha Community Health Center which will also share space in the facility.
According to Graffen, the organization wants the center to be a shared space in the community and is currently working with other local organizations like Big Brother Big Sisters and the Literacy Center to form partnerships.
The Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha began the pheasibility study for this project in November of 2008. The city of Kenosha contributed $5million dollars in TIF district money to fund the project and the organization was able to raise $4.7 million from the private sector during the economic downturn.
“Kenosha desperately needed a new youth center,” Graffen said. “Our current facilities are very old, outdated and not in the best of shape. This new facility gives us the capacity to help reach more kids and offer more programs and opportunities than we were even capable of doing before.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha will join its two former locations in the new facility.
To watch a video interview with Graffen, click on the link below, for more information about the Club’s opening week activities, visit the Club’s Facebook Page here.