A new Boys & Girls Club has opened in Schenectady. The 40,000 square-foot facility was made possible through millions of dollars in community donations, with input from the kids who will be spending their time at the new clubhouse.
A crowd of young people sat eagerly inside a shining new gymnasium Thursday afternoon, waiting for a blue ribbon to be cut.
“The day has finally arrived! The opening of the new…state of the art…Adeline Wright Boys & Girls Club.”
Executive Director of the Schenectady Boys and Girls Club Shane Bargy, who grew up blocks from the new clubhouse in Quackenbush Park, spoke to the students ranging from toddlers to teenagers.
“It was love that built this palace for you guys. This building is a symbol of how much we all care about you.”
In addition to the gym, the two-story building contains a theater designed with Proctors, learning labs, a commercial kitchen, and other amenities. Within moments of the doors opening, some of the older kids gathered in an upstairs teen center that was designed with their input.
One space is loaded with audio equipment.
“This is gonna be a room where we give kids an intro to recording, they get an intro to DJing, they get an intro to production,” said Joseph.
Jevaughn Joseph of BPM Lessons will work with kids in Schenectady. He and his business partner also teach youth at other Boys & Girls Clubs in the Capital Region.
“This is really us getting hands-on with the next generation to kind of give them some kind of substance to what music could be or should be,” said Joseph.
Three hundred kids and teens will come through the clubhouse each day.
The center is located next to the Mont Pleasant Middle School and Pleasant Valley Elementary School. The $13 million project was backed by a large team of supporters.
Mayor Gary McCarthy discussed the effort characterized as the largest fundraiser ever in the City of Schenectady.
“Thirteen million dollars is a significant number, no matter how you look at it. And so it’s been invested here, it’s going to make a difference in this neighborhood, it makes a difference in the community, and it’s going to make a difference in the kids’ lives that are going to have the opportunity to enjoy this facility,” said McCarthy.
More than half of the amount raised comes from community donations. $3 million comes from the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal’s Community Investment Fund. More than $2 million is from New Market Tax Credits allocated by Empire State Development and The Community Builders.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul commented on the public and private investment.
“This is one of the greatest projects we’ve ever done in the state of New York, it’s happening in your community. So to all of you, to the students, the adults who made it happen, this is a fabulous day for the great City of Schenectady. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward, and everyone here made it happen! Congratulations!”