Officials Discuss Youth Center Plans

Posted December 19, 2007 at 5:55pm

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the fate of its Eastern Branch, located on Capitol Hill.

“We think it went very well,” Vice President of Communications Molly Boyle said. “We really wanted a chance to talk to the community and let them know what our plans are.”

About 50 people attended the meeting, which was held at the Eastern Branch facility at 17th Street and Massachusetts Avenue Southeast. The facility closed on Aug. 17 because of a lack of funding and a decline in membership. But Boys & Girls Clubs officials announced recently that they plan to invite private entities, public agencies and community groups to help redevelop four D.C. locations, including the Eastern Branch.

Those in attendance Tuesday had many questions about the redevelopment process, Boyle said.

The next step is for the club to release a request for proposals early next year. The club has hired commercial developer CB Richard Ellis to assist with reviewing the proposals and marketing the property.

“We’re in the business of kids, so we obviously needed some help putting the property on the market,” Boyle said.

Neighbors United, a local community group spearheaded by former Ward 6 council candidate Will Cobb, has been working to get a joint lease with the Boys & Girls Clubs to open an all-ages community center at the Eastern Branch site.

Boyle said the group’s proposal will be considered alongside the others that are submitted.

“We haven’t heard of anybody else [who is interested in the property],” Cobb said. “Our focus right now is to build our track record for success and getting the programming into the community that we’ve been talking about since day one.”

— Alison McSherry