Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grinnell Street Boys & Girls Club closed for security reasons


What does that tell us about the success of the Harrison School/Neighborhood Impact Zone?

The East Bluff Boys and Girls Club (shown in photo above) is already crammed full of kids, in an area where crime is just a little too normal (the Glen Oak School Neighborhood Impact Zone). They are confined to playing on a very small lot, directly across the street from the Glen Oak Community Center. Now the Boys and Girls Club is adding 60 children from the Grinnell Street location to the mix - is there even room? And why bus them from the Harrison area to the East Bluff, can't they make use of the Harrison School, birth-through-eighth grade Community Learning Center?

Boys and Girls Club's site closed for summer
About 60 children being transported to East Bluff due to security concerns

The Boys and Girls Club's Grinnell Street site near the old Harrison Homes is closed for the summer because of security reasons, according to Leslie Matuszak, the agency's director. Instead, employees or parents are transporting about 60 children daily from the Harrison Homes area to the Boys and Girls Club along Kansas Street in the East Bluff.

"We're primarily running everything from our East Bluff location, primarily because of safety and costs," Matuszak said.

The closing stemmed from concerns about the safety of staff, as well as children who walk back and forth to Boys and Girls Club programs during the summer. Though the club is not responsible for children en route, Matuszak said some children have been approached by drug dealers or bullies as they walked back and forth to the Grinnell site.

"I can't pay a security guard $28 an hour and that's the going rate," she said. Security is less of a problem when school is in session, Matuszak added. Increased activity in and around Harrison Community Learning Center acts as a safety buffer.

One mother, dropping her children off at a van parked at the Grinnell Street site Monday, said her children preferred the East Bluff location. She did not want her named used.

Though the Grinnell site is closed, the agency still offers some programs on the south side this summer. For instance, children walk to a tutoring and mentoring program the Boys and Girls Club offers at Manual Academy.

The summer closing has also resulted in adjustments in the maintenance of a teaching garden the club maintains at Harrison school. Originally, children from the Grinnell Street site would care for the garden during the summer months. Currently, Boys and Girls Club staff transports children from the Kansas Street site a few times a week.

The Grinnell Street location has been closed since mid-June and will reopen in mid-August. About 500 children are involved in the club's summer programs. Source

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting it says it's been closed since June and we are just now hearing about it.

2 Anon said...

How very sad. Probably, the troublemakers on the south end once attended events at this facility, or with the Boys & Girls Club. What happened?

Anonymous said...

This story caught me by surprise because it noted that the Grinnell Street location had been closed since June. When did it actually reopen? It sat empty for years, was used as the staging area for Rivercity Cons. when Harrison was being built, and remained closed. The building never appears to have any activity so I'm wondering what hours it has had since reopening.

Anonymous said...

Children are also approached in the East Bluff by gang members pressuring them to join or to run a package. The under age of 10 especially because there is nothing law enforcement could do. The East Bluff site, despite being hailed by bullets itself, ignores those actions as noted in the media interviews, speaking the gibberish that the city council states. "nothing to see here." "there is no crime"....
Why not just address and fix the problem? because of the irresponsible spending spree the council is on cannot afford to address crime.

tls1995 said...

FYI - They do let the kids play across the street at the park/playground area with supervision unless there is a incident of some sort. They watch not only the kids very closly but also what is going on in the immediate area while they are out playing regardless of whether they are on their own playground or across the street. At the slightest hint of trouble they call the police and send the kids inside. They also were using the gym at St Bernard's earlier in the summer. I will say they are packed in there this summer but even with the number of kids in each group the "teachers" keep control of the groups. Ask any kid who attends the East Bluff Program and they will tell you "these teachers don't play. Either you are good or you are gone."

I am more than grateful for the summer program. Without it I could not work as there is no way I can afford any of the other progams in town and since I do work I am not eligible for any kind of help or scholorships. I do wish they could open earlier than 1pm but I understand they just don't have the staffing.

Didn't there use to be a location over by were Crittenton and Valeska Hinton are? Or am I thinking of hte Harrison location. Admittedly I don't spend a lot of time in that area of town.

Emerge Peoria said...

I have seen the staff keeping a close watch on the kids. Additionally, I don't recall there being any incidents with kids getting hurt there.

Anonymous said...

How nuch does the executive director make?

Olivia said...

I agree with you. I had no idea it had reopened at all.

meanjarhead said...

Not enough

meanjarhead said...

Hurry up and fix the problems on the south side so these rude brats can go back to where they belong. I am sick of dealing with the lack of manners these kids have when i go pick up my daughter.

Anonymous said...

That's a fair question. They have enough money to keep a full staff in the office, but not enough money for security. They have regular fund raisers, where is the money being spent?

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we focus more on local needs and less on an out of town charity that has over $2,000,000,000 - that's TWO BILLION - in reserves, we could address the core needs within our own community.