Quincy Boys & Girls Club to move to Havana

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By Alice Du Pont

The Quincy Boys and Girls Club, located in a converted warehouse on Pat Thomas Parkway, will close at the end of the month. Another club will open at Havana Elementary School. Gadsden County commissioners agreed to the move during their regular meeting earlier this week.

Before the move Buddy Streit, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Bend, needed to amend the memorandum of understanding with the county so that the funds could be transferred to the Havana club. In the original agreement, one club was to be in Quincy and the other in Chattahoochee. Other clubs would be added later if the county could finance its share of $150,000 per year, needed for operations. Havana and Gretna were next on the list for clubs.

Commissioners warned Streit that with cuts from the state level and a tight budget session looming, the clubs may not get the financing for fiscal year 2009-10. Streit said he understood.

Streit said the Quincy club has about 100 kids registered with an average daily attendance of approximately 75. More children, he said, could be served at the Havana site.

According to Streit, the Quincy site was not an ideal location.

"It's located in an industrial area and it is near a railroad track," he said.

Commissioner Brenda Holt made it clear she disapproved of moving the club and called it unfair to the children enrolled.

"I'm not in favor of this move at all. If there is a school in Havana, there are three or four in Quincy. I don't believe you take from one child and give to another. You don't treat children unfairly. Before we take from them, you need to go back and try to work something out. These kids have become accustomed to going to the club," Holt said.

Eugene Lamb, commission chairman, said the Boys and Girls Club officials did "everything they could" to work things out in Quincy but it didn't happen.

Commissioner Gene Morgan deferred to club officials, saying they know better than anyone else how to run their programs.

Streit said there was no problem with the Gadsden County School Board allowing the club to use Quincy schools but they could not find a suitable school site.

"What did you find in Havana that you didn't find in Quincy?" Holt asked Streit.

"Open arms," he replied.