Hoops team passes the ball

The Friends of Hoop community center that had been planned for Milwaukee will not be constructed after all. Instead, former Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl’s Friends of Hoop Foundation intends to make donations to other organizations in the community, according to Lori Hoch, president of the board of directors for Friends of Hoop.
"We can probably do better things with the money then running a building," she said. "Why duplicate what other groups are doing?"
The Friends of Hoop center, which was originally planned for the Pabst brewery redevelopment site, would have had a mission similar to the Salvation Army’s proposed Milwaukee inner city community center.
The Friends of Hoop facility was to have included basketball courts, physical fitness equipment, music and art studios and educational facilities, including a computer room. The plans also included a youth mentoring program at the facility. The goal of the center was to help youth develop leadership, character and discipline and expose youth to future career opportunities.
The Friends of Hoop building project was cancelled when the partners redeveloping the brewery decided it did not fit with their plans.
Juneau Avenue Partners, the group converting the brewery into a multi-use housing, office and entertainment complex called Pabst City, originally planned to build a facility in the development for Friends of Hoop and donate it to Friends of Hoop to thank Karl for helping bring the development partners together. Karl was instrumental in bringing his friend, Cleveland developer John Ferchill, into the project.
Although Karl had planned to find another location for the Friends of Hoop facility after the Pabst City site was scrapped, the money the foundation receives from the development instead will be donated to other community organizations, Hoch said.
In lieu of the building donation, the Pabst City developers have agreed to make a cash donation to Karl’s foundation. The amount of the cash donation will be determined by the success of the Pabst City development, Hoch said.
Karl currently donates about $300,000 to Friends of Hoop for scholarships, to send children to summer camps and to run the annual King Holiday Hoopfest high school basketball tournament at the Bradley Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Pabst City donation will provide more money for Friends of Hoop to give to community organizations in Milwaukee, Hoch said.

April 2, 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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