Boys & Girls club begins fund-raising efforts

Group sets $100,000 goal for initial campaign

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It's three o'clock. Where are your kids?

That's the message local organizers of Craig's Boys and Girls Club hope community members will consider as they reach for their pocketbooks to assist the start-up afterschool program.

Craig's Boys and Girls Club organizers officially launched a capital fund-raising campaign Tuesday during a luncheon with about 30 invited community members.

Chuck Dodd, chairman of the capital campaign, wants to raise $100,000 in the campaign's first few months for improvements to their building, the former site of the National Guard Armory off Victory Way. Organizers have already collected about $100,000 for the program -- almost half of those dollars have been donated by a local trust.

Dodd is a former Moffat County school board member who has been involved in the junior golf program and the United Way.

After the initial capital fund-raising campaign, club organizers plan to raise money indefinitely for the non-profit facility that should operate on a $400,000 a year budget.

The largest expenses will pay salaries for three to six full-time employees and a few part-time employees, said club organizer Pres Askew.

Floor plans for the club building presented Tuesday include a teen center, an arts and crafts room, a learning center with computer access and a new synthetic layer to replace the cement-floored gymnasium.

"We want the Boys and Girls Club to be the anchor store of afterschool programs here," said Jim Dodd, Craig's Boys and Girls Club executive director. "We want to be a complementary facility for all programs."

Club organizers plan to open the facility in June when school's out for the summer for many Moffat County School District students. The facility should be open for Boys and Girls Club members from the time school ends to roughly 7:30 p.m. next school year.

Community groups will be encouraged to access the facility during off-hours, Askew said.

"This will be a building for all," he said. "A building for kids."

Boys and Girls Club organizers are leasing the former Armory building from Moffat County. The county has been leasing the building from the state since 1996.

Lease agreements on the building continue through 2011. Recently, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs began looking into selling the building after the Colorado National Guard said they had no use for it. But that was before state officials realized the Boys and Girls Club was using the facility.

"We're going to work with the county and the community to do what's right," said William Robinson, the department's deputy director. "At the appropriate time, working with them, we could put it up for sale ... but we wouldn't be getting ready to do that for several months."

The state is under no federal mandate to sell the building, Robinson said. The building can't be sold until it's appraised.

Askew said the Craig Boys and Girls Club isn't in a hurry to purchase the building. And the club would only consider buying it if the price was right. Askew said that would mean an asking price of no more than $400,000.

"I think in two or three years we may find a funding source to buy the building," Askew said. "I think it would be onerous if we tried to raise the money to buy it today."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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