Plano Rec Center Passed to Boys & Girls Club

Reaction mixed to city's decision

By Omar Villafranca
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 11:34 PM CDT
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Plano Hands Rec Center Over to Boys & Girls Club

NBCDFW.com

The Douglass Community Center in East Plano will now be managed by the Boys & Girls Club staff, saving the city of Plano more than $500,000.

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Plano Hands Rec Center Over to Boys & Girls Club

The Plano City Council votes to hand control of a community center over to the Boys & Girls Club.
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The Plano City Council voted 7-0 on Monday night to hand control of a community center over to the Boys & Girls Club.

The Douglass Community Center in East Plano will now be managed by the Boys & Girls Club staff, saving the city of Plano more than $500,000.

But not everyone is jumping for joy with the savings.

Several people asked the council to push back the agenda item to study the handover's effects on the community.

Residents near the community center say they worry access to the facility will be restricted.

"My biggest concern is just taking away the opportunity for young kids to get a workout in and play a little basketball," Roy Voss said.

The middle-aged Voss also plays basketball in the Douglass gym.

Voss said the area is filled with low-income housing and he worries that kids might not be able to get in the gym and off the streets if they don't sign up with the Boy & Girls Club.

"Back out on the streets -- I'm talking about stealing, drugs," he said. "I'm talking about finding the wrong mentors."

But city spokeswoman Dana Conklin said part of the transition includes time for residents who aren't club members.

"There are going to be hours available for public drop-in use that doesn't require the Boys & Girls Club membership," she said. "The Boys & Girls Club is very open to trying some things and talking to the community and learning what they want. It's just going to take them having the authority on the ground to do so."

Before the vote, Amy Fortenberry, Plano Parks and Recreation director, told the council that the contract provides hours for community members. She also said the new managers would be willing to work with residents who can't afford the fees to join.

Under the contract, community members could drop in between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, Fortenberry said. On Saturdays, the community center would allow nonmember residents to visit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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