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Boys and Girls Club celebrates renovation

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Tim Coughlin, center left, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties, and Mayor Pro-tem Jason Perry, center right, cut the ribbon Monday afternoon at the renovated Poe Corn Center, 201 S. Garden Ave., joined by representatives of the club’s board of directors, the city and the contractors on the $1.2 million project. The club is closed in Roswell for this week while equipment and furniture are moved in and will open for programs May 3. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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Monday afternoon’s ribbon cutting at the Poe Corn Center, 102 S. Garden Ave., was a long time in the making, participants said.

After eight months of renovation and more than two and a half years after the bulk of the funding was awarded, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties will soon move programs back into the 60-year-old building.

After the pandemic closed their programs in March 2020, the Roswell unit, anticipating the renovation, offered services at the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center starting in July.

The renovation totaled more than $1.1 million, with $750,000 from a Community Development Block Grant awarded in September 2018 from the state. The rest of the funding came from the city.

“We’ve been chomping at the bit waiting for this project to get going, but like all good things, it comes and it happens, and now we’re poised for the next 55 years to provide for the community and continue,” Tim Coughlin, executive director of the club, said.

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The building’s renovation included new paint throughout, new LED lighting, new heating and cooling systems, polished cement floors, a new gym floor and a new roof.

The Boys Club started in Roswell in 1965. It was housed in several locations before settling in the Poe Corn Center, Coughlin said, and served some of those who had gathered for the ceremony, including Jim Matteucci, chairman of the club’s board of directors.

“I was born in 1965 when the club first started here and for most of my life, I would say that I actually aged and looked better than the club,” Matteucci said. “But now we have this amazing facility that is going to win that award hands down.”

Matteucci said the club is financially in a position to endure for another 55 years.

“That’s super important to make sure this does survive, because there’s so many kids out there … they have to have us. This is a life-or-death situation for a lot of these kids,” he said.

The remainder of the week, the club is closed to activities as staff and volunteers will move equipment and furniture from storage, clean it and set up. Programs will resume Monday.

Once settled, the club has its eye on expansion, depending on what health orders and staffing allow, Coughlin said. He told the crowd the club is looking at putting in a teen center in the area behind the gym so there is some separation between older and younger members. The front of the building will get some work as well from the club, including xeriscaping.

The Roswell center has a new unit director, Christi Patton, a former Roswell resident who recently moved back to town and has experience as a program director for Girl Scouts.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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