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A Boys and Girls Club May be More than Alameda City Council Bargained For

By Erica Madison

Two weeks ago City Council members were happy to entertain the idea of a Boys and Girls Club. Unfortunately this was before they realized the City of Alameda would share a 25-year responsibility.

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009, at a special joint meeting of the City Council and Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, Council members learned, that a Boys and Girls Club would require over site from the City.

According to representatives of East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), it would be a violation to directly divert money from Measure WW, and give to the Boys and Girls Club for a recreation center.

“The Measure WW funds are capital development and capital acquisition. Any money from the Measure WW has to go towards entities that work for the public.” Said an EBRPD representative.

The Boys and Girls Club, while it is not a private entity, it is also not public. Part of the guidelines for Measure WW, is the money can only go towards public institutions.

In order for the Boys and Girls Club to create a recreation center, the city of Alameda would have to apply for the $2 million of Measure WW funds. “If the Boys and Girls Club work as agents for the City of Alameda it will not violate Measure WW eligibility.” said an EBRPD representative.

But with this application, comes great responsibility.

“You can’t walk away and let them (Boys and Girls Club) and use it (the recreation center) to their discretion” said an EBRPD representative. Council members expressed concerned when they realized, they could not hand over the money and wash themselves of the responsibility.

“Once the project is constructed, would the city still be involved in the operation?” asked Mayor Beverley Johnson. “The city accepts the responsibility to watch the project; they’re not required to manage the project. Said an EBRPD representative.

The representative went on to explain to the Council, that by applying on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club, the city is responsible for making sure the site is available to the public for afterschool and weekend activities. “It’s simple. Its public money, so the city needs to make sure it’s available for public use. Said an EBRPD representative.

Once the application is approved, the city is required to make sure the recreation center is open for the public for 25 years. Thus entering into a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club that requires the city to oversee the recreation center for over two decades.

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