LONG BEACH - At the city council meeting Monday night, City Administrator Gene Miles asked council members to consider bringing the future Peninsula's Boys and Girls Club to Long Beach.
Miles explained that the Boys and Girls Club could be built on a piece of the city's property that is directly north of Stanley Field and just south of 9th Street NE.
The city administrator explained that the idea did not require a commitment, but that he wanted to know if the council would consider the idea. He explained that the club needed to specify a future land site in order to apply for grants that are due in November.
Representing the Boys and Girls Club, Penny Treat said that their building plans are for a 100-foot by 100-foot single story building. She explained that the club is in its fourth year of planning and there is a need for a Boys and Girls Club in our area. Treat referred to Pacific County's statistics regarding suicide attempts, school dropout rates, teen pregnancies, drug use, arrests and other concerns. She described the process as urgent and said that if the club were to have available property, it would take one year off the process. She added that the area is a central location and would be convenient for kids since there is a school nearby and it is on the main bus route. Treat later explained that there may be an available piece of property near Black Lake, which would have to be cleared of trees. She felt that property may be too remote.
Councilman Gordon Zuern noted that there are also plans for an addition to the Long Beach Fire Hall on that block. Finance Director David Glasson explained that the fire hall addition would be south of the ballfield, while the property in question lies on the north side.
Mayor Bob Andrew asked what sort of restrictions there are for the city's park area. Glasson stated that the property is in a residential zone, which would allow for public use buildings.
Council member Ralph Moore asked if the property was adequate for the building and parking. Councilor Betty Ahern raised concerns about baseballs being hit nearby.
Moore added that if the Boys and Girls Club has a commitment to a piece of property, then they would be able to move forward to receive more funding.
"The Boys and Girls Club and the city park goes hand in hand," said Moore.
"The question in this discussion is if this is the best or most appropriate place," said Councilman Fred Cook, who felt that the ballfield would be negatively affected if the city were to allow the Boys and Girls Club to build there.
Councilor Jerry Phillips said he would prefer that the property remain a park and the city help search for a better spot for the club. Ahern agreed.
"We know there's a need, there's no doubt about that," said Zuern. He suggested that the city look at all the pieces of property that are available for the Boys and Girls Club's use.
Miles stated that the area near Stanley Field is probably "the only piece of city property that could muster a Community Development Block Grant" without any wetland concerns or the need to acquire additional property.
Several other areas of Long Beach were suggested as possible sites, such as the old kite museum building and the basketball court by Culbertson Park. Glasson suggested that the city could move the basketball court since it was a fairly inexpensive project.
Phillips said he would consider the request, but would not make a commitment. Cook advised that the city keep looking for an acceptable area.
Andrew added that the city should research to see what size of building would fit on the property.
Treat agreed, "Location does need to be considered because it will be public use."
Cook motioned to table the item until May 5 and to direct city staff to research other possible locations. The motion passed.