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Holland Boys & Girls Club is ready to start on new home

The dream of a new home for the Boys & Girls Club of Holland is about to become a reality.

"It's actually going to happen," David Fay, a member of the club's board of directors and of its Capital Campaign Committee, told The Buffalo News. "The project is getting under way within the next two weeks."

For almost 40 years, the club has operated out of a small former church building on Route 16 in Holland.

"The current building is bursting at the seams," Fay said.

He said space was a problem with the old facility.

"It was primarily one of both outgrowing the facility and just the sheer number of kids," he said. "It's an old building. It's deteriorating. It's always been inadequate for the programs that go on at the club.

Fay said in its early years, daily attendance was between 20 and 30 children. Today, the average daily attendance is 102, and it has been as high as 134 for special events.

In April 2009, the club purchased a site on Vermont Street in the village with the intention of building a facility that would include a small addition to the existing building and a new gymnasium. The estimated cost for the facility was $1.3 million.

The campaign committee, which was formed to help raise funds and to develop a construction plan, is now at a "really crucial" part of the fundraising effort, Fay said. Officials say $278,000 has been raised.

"At this point in time, we are in need of about $50,000 to $60,000 to have enough cash in hand to complete the erection of the building this season. We're excited and working hard to make that happen," he said.

Fay said the community has stepped up to support the project.

"The members of the community have donated enormous amounts of time and have pledged enormous amounts of in-kind services," he said. "For example, the removal of the trees and shrubs from the site was completely donated. Much of the excavation work will be completely donated labor."

"With the existing facility, we don't have any ability to offer programs to the community, other than for the children," Fay said. "There is a plan with the new facility that will enable us to offer programs to the community, such as indoor walking sessions, indoor sports leagues and other programs that the community members can get involved in that will expand the impact of the facility for the whole community."

While most people are aware the Boys and Girls Club offers opportunities for children to get involved in athletics, he said, the club also offers other programs and services, such as homework assistance and tutoring; health and life skills assistance; arts and craft activities; and character, leadership and career development programs.

Organizers in Holland hope to get the structures erected and closed this construction season and, if all goes well, they hope to have them finished by the end of next winter.

"With adequate funding, the doors could be open next spring," Fay said.

Anyone wishing to contribute can do so by mailing donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Holland, 51 S. Main St., Holland.

The capital committee will also be soliciting donations at the Holland Tulip Festival in May. Donation bricks can also be purchased.

The Boys and Girls Club of Holland also serves residents in Strykersville, Chaffee, Colden, Arcade, Springville and other communities.