Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Commerce City Urban Renewal Authority, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver kick-off strategic partnership negotiations for Mile High Greyhound Park redevelopment

Congressman Perlmutter, Suncor Energy and Commerce City commit significant funding to ADVANCE PROJECT

COMMERCE CITY, COLO. –The Commerce City Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today announced the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver as the first redevelopment partner for the Mile High Greyhound Park.

The URA will provide at least two acres out of the 65-acre property to the non-profit organization for construction of the club’s first new building in the metro area since 2006. Joined by Congressman Ed Perlmutter, representatives from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Suncor Energy, Adams 14 School District and Commerce City council members, URA Executive Director Jerry Flannery emphasized the partnership’s commitment to serving an important part of the community – our children.

“Announcing our commitment to help build a new Boys & Girls Club in Commerce City is the first step toward a long-term, sustainable partnership that will benefit metro Denver for years to come,” said URA Chairman Mayor Paul Natale. “The URA’s ownership of the property, coupled with the community’s desire to provide a space for our youth created the perfect condition for this to happen.”

“We are thrilled to commence negotiations with the Commerce City Urban Renewal Authority and forge a long lasting partnership to serve more children in Commerce City,” said John Arigoni, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. “Our mission is clear: help young people do better in school and reach their full potential as caring and productive members of their community. We’ve done this successfully the past five years and look forward to expanding our reach with a permanent location. We salute and thank the leadership in Commerce City for their commitment to children.”

The new space is expected to triple the number of children served in Commerce City. Currently, 600 youth are served at the temporary space provided by Adams 14 School District at Kearney Middle School. With 83 percent of district students eligible for free or reduced lunches, the programming offered by the Boys & Girls Clubs serves an important niche for district youth.

“The expansion of the Boys and Girls Club means expanded enrichment opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Sue Chandler, Adams 14 Superintendent. “It’s inspiring to see all of these partners collaborate on an endeavor that will enhance academic achievement, build character and provide life-long skills for our students’ successful futures.”

Congressman Ed Perlmutter secured a $166,000 appropriation from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development specifically for this project. Nearly $140,000 will be put toward the construction of a new facility, while more than $25,000 will be used for architectural design and planning.

"Our kids today are our leaders of the future. This is a great example of how private, public and non-profit entities can come together to help our communities create something that benefits future generations and has a positive impact on our neighborhoods for decades to come," said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07).

Once final negotiations with the city are complete and approved by the respective boards of directors, the project will move forward with conceptual drawings and a capital fundraising campaign. Pending the success of that effort, a groundbreaking could occur as early as 2014 – or three years from the start of the project.

Community leadership and support is a critical component to the club’s long-term success. The city will be taking a leadership role by annually budgeting a portion of the club operating expenses when the facility opens.

“In an effort to encourage our residents to help support the construction of the Commerce City Boys & Girls Club, City Council is planning to budget these operating funds in 2012,” added Natale. “We will use those dollars as a community challenge grant for the capital campaign, matching resident contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000.”

Corporate and foundation gifts will also be critical to the success of the project. Suncor Energy, a major Commerce City employer, has long-supported the city’s youth activities, including the club at Kearney Middle School.

"Suncor is proud to be a partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, and we have a long-standing relationship with the organization," said Nancy Thonen, Suncor's director of product supply and refinery sales. "We know that the investments we’ve made to date – in cooperation with the City of Commerce City, the school district and other partners – have ensured that the existing club could operate effectively and serve the area’s youth. We’re also pleased that Suncor has committed one million dollars to a new Boys & Girls Club facility; on behalf of all of Suncor’s employees here in Colorado, we look forward to seeing the new club’s construction become a reality."

The future facility is proposed to stand on the corner of 62nd Street and Holly Avenue in Commerce City. It would be the first building constructed by the non-profit since 2006 and could feature amenities such as a teen center, technology lab and an education center.

Upcoming public outreach meetings on the Mile High Greyhound Park redevelopment project will give residents and businesses the opportunity to comment on the proposed location as well as other potential civic uses that could make the building a multi-use facility. The first meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Commerce City Recreation Center. Additional information and meeting dates can be found on the URA’s website

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