By KAITLYN NAPLES
The new Boys and Girls Club and Family Center facility is getting closer and closer to breaking ground on West Street, and at last week’s council meeting the councilors and mayor unanimously approved to save the non-profit the cost of permit and building fees.
“This will alleviate the club of the burden (of paying these fees),” Mayor Art Ward said, so it is able to construct its 38,000 square foot facility that will serve “the youth of the entire city.”
The last time the city waived fees for any project was over 20 years ago for the Giamatti Little League facility on Mix Street.
“This bipartisan support is commendable,” said Michael Suchopar, executive director for the Bristol Boys and Girls Club. The fees being waived would include any permit fee that is necessary for building, and will save the club approximately $62,000 on the project. This estimate, the city’s Chief Building Official Guy Morin said, is based upon a “40,000 square foot building, with an estimated cost to construct (not including any interior furniture or equipment) of $10 million.”
By this time next year the corner of West Street and Gaylord Street will be the site of the new Don Tinty Boys and Girls Club and Family Center, named in honor of local philanthropist and owner of Tinty’s Furniture store, Don Tinty, who passed away in 2009. The Tinty Foundation donated $1.1 million to the project’s campaign.
The club has been raising money for the new facility for about three years, and had raised $8.6 million of the $11 million needed as of May. Once the funding reaches $10 million, construction can begin. Work is expected to take about 10 months to complete for the 38,000 square foot building. The club is expecting to reach that $10 million goal by next month, and a lot of the funds raised have been made by private donors, Ward said.
The new building, which was designed by Amara Associations, will include an education and technology center, arts and crafts center, game room, a teen center, vocational kitchen, community rooms, a disaster center, and also a 14,000 square foot field house (the first one of its kind in the state other than the college field houses). Suchopar previously has said the new building will be a place for adults as well, and can be used by the senior center.
Just last year, ESPN gave an additional $1 million to the project’s cost after donating $400,000 in 2009 for the club to purchase the land. Earlier this year, Walmart donated $50,000. Other major donors includes the Barnes family. State Representative Betty Boukus (D-Plainville, New Britain) helped secure $2 million of state funding towards the project as well.
Throughout the school year, the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and Family Center provides services to 500 to 1,000 children each day throughout the school year, and focuses on providing programs that focus on education, health, and character development.
“With this new facility, we will be able to enhance our ability to touch even more lives,” Suchopar added.
The club also includes the Imagine Nation Museum and preschool program, 10 school-based programs, and an Outreach Program at Cambridge Park.
In Bristol, non-profits adhere to the same fee rules as any other business.
By KAITLYN NAPLES