MINDEN - An operational Boys & Girls Club in Carson Valley may become a reality by April.
Douglas County commissioners approved a land swap last week that would open the way for 17 acres across from Meneley Elementary School in the Gardnerville Ranchos to become the center's permanent home.
"We still need to go over the leasing policy with the Ranchos board and that should be approved at its December meeting," said JoJo Townsell, who led the planning for the community center for the better part of five years. "Once we get that we should be off and running.
Townsell said he's looking for anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 square feet of space to lease until the permanent Ranchos center opens.
"This way we'll get to understand the Boys & Girls Club way of doing things and we'll get to really introduce ourselves into the community," he said. "That learning curve will give us that advantage of once we get the permanent facility done, we can get off and running and we'll know exactly, operationally, what needs to be done."
So far, Townsell said the most promising site he has looked at is in the old Bently building, but he would be open to anything else that might be open in the community.
"We're looking for something within the town limits so that we are accessible to the kids," he said. "We're trying to be conservative in our approach right now, knowing that a great deal of the funding support we want to generate will go toward our $3 million capital campaign."
The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada in Carson City has offered to step up and sponsor the Carson Valley club as it gets off the ground.
"They've expressed an interest in helping us out with a lot of the start-up grants that should be available," Townsell said. "The Boys & Girls Club government supports clubs across the country with a certain stipend per kid. That'll be very helpful.
Initially, Townsell said the club would be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
What programs are offered will depend largely upon the kind of space the club ends up in.
"We want to give kids a recreational outlet," Townsell said. "Basically a space where they can hang out with their friends, maybe a space to play pool or air hockey.
"We're thinking mostly enrichment programs. Were hoping to have a computer lab, and that we'll get a chance to introduce some of the other youth organizations like martial arts and dance."
Townsell said the juvenile office of the sheriff's department has also expressed an interest in putting on prevention programs through the club.
Summer hours would most likely extend from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Last week's land swap was approved by the country commission for the property that was originally intended for development as Conifer Park across from Meneley on Muir Drive.
In return, the Ranchos district released two parcels within Aspen Park and one within the planned Birch Park.
Anyone with space for lease that may be suitable for the Boys & Girls club, or anyone interest in donating funds, equipment or materials to the cause can contact Townsell at 783-9598.
-- Contact reporter Joey Crandall at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 782-5121, ext. 212.