LACONIA — The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, which will be applied toward the acquisition of the former St. James Episcopal Church on North Main Street where the club now makes its home.
Next week, at noon on Thursday, November 21, the club will launch a capital campaign to raise the funds to complete the purchase and undertake the renovation of the property. Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the board of directors, said that the campaign aims to raise $2.4-million, a third of which is already in hand.
Al Posnack, who preceded Adams as president and chairs the capital campaign, said that the board is obviously very pleased to receive the grant, which lends momentum to its fundraising effort.
In March, the Vestry of the church accepted the club's offer to purchase the land and buildings for a reported price of $700,000. The property provides 14,000-square-feet of space between the ground floor and half-basement and sits on a 1.3-acre lot.
When the club moved into what executive director Cheryl Avery called "our forever home" in June, it marked the end of an odyssey that took the club to four different locations since it began in 1999.
At what Avery has described as "an ideal location" the club, is not only a stone's throw from Laconia Middle School and less than a mile from Laconia High School but also across the street from Opechee Park, with its beach, track and playing fields. The building houses a fully equipped kitchen and provides sufficient space for a gymnasium as well as expanded programming for elementary and middle school students and dedicated space for teens. With minimal alterations the building can be remodeled and reconfigured to include a cafe, game room, computer room and teen center. The property includes an extensive parking area and a playground alongside the church.