The Boys and Girls Clubs of Lynn have embarked on an ambitious $10 million capital campaign, with the goal of constructing a completely renovated center at their 25 North Common Street headquarters, according to board president Mario Capano, a Lynn attorney and Executive Director Robert “Obie” Barker.
“The effort is being spearheaded by Nick Menino of Menino Construction and Tom Demakes of Old Neighborhood Foods,” explained Capano last week. “The fact is that we have simply outgrown our facility on North Common Street. A lot of the space in the existing building is not usable, so we have a plan to keep the façade of the existing building and tear down the backend and build new.”
Capano noted that the fundraising effort is underway, but there is still a long way to go and Barker underscored that the entire project will likely take all of this year and into next, before construction can begin.
“Right now, we’re still in the initial stages of the campaign,” explained Barker. “We’re almost at the stage we’re we can finalize the design of the building, but there are some details to be worked out there, so this is going to take a while. I’d say it will probably be the spring or early summer of 2015, before we can break ground on the new building.”
The current Boys and Girls Clubs building on North Common Street serves more than 250 children a day, with membership of more than 1,500 according to Capano, but the site lacks amenities like a new pool and a modern gym that can help the center provide even more programming and serve more youth.
Barker said the Boys and Girls Clubs staff and board of directors are also planning several events and fund raisers to help get the community involved over the next few months, but none of the specific events has been finalized as yet.
“We’re going to need the support of the community to be successful and that’s important,” said Barker. “Our goal is to make the Boys and Girls Club more of a community based facility and anything people can give, from $5 to $50,000 will be helpful in reaching our goals. If people would like to come take a tour of the building to see what we’re trying to do, we’d be happy to accommodate that as well.”