Hopes for Bayview Park in near future
More than 200 Boys and Girls Club kids spent the summer taking field trips to Marlins’ games in Miami, and to attractions around town, whip creaming their teachers, and having a blast at the 1400 United Street Reynolds School locale. What they didn’t enjoy was the lack of air conditioning in this summer’s heat, an occasional rodent sighting, or swimming to camp in the rain.
“We need to get out of the Reynolds School,” said Dan Dombroski, CEO of the club, who is seeking to move the club to Bayview Park, a centrally located permanent home. “It’s been my dream to have a permanent spot, a nice place to go. We don’t need a palace, but somewhere safe.”
The Key West City Commission has put aside $500,000 from funds generated by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That will be used for renovations of the structure at the park. Dombroski hopes to bring in another $1 million through a capital campaign, grants, individual donations, and contractors donating skills to the project.
“We can do it in phases, but we need to get out of Reynolds School as soon as possible,” he said, citing the faults.
The Southernmost Boys and Girls Club, which includes the Key West location, and a location on Big Pine Key, provides summer and after school care for working families in the community. Stephen Bender, of Niles Sales and Service, said his children Victoria and Beau looked forward to going to the camp each day during the summer. “All the folks working there do a great job and the kids constantly told me how nice everyone was,” he said. “As parents, we also liked that they took care of so much for us. We didn’t have to pack lunch, and pickup times were extremely flexible. We will definitely be back next summer.”
The club teaches life skills, offers academic tutoring and help, but most of all, offers a fun, safe place for kids. The most important thing Dombroski stressed was not taking money away from the kids. “We need to keep this affordable for all families,” he said. “We want to put the money back into the kids, rather than into rent.”
The kids from Southernmost Boys and Girls Club at a Marlins’ game field trip during the summer. They are looking for a new home at Bayview Park.