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New Boys & Girls Club planned for Town of Cheektowaga; startup funds secured

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The Town of Cheektowaga's Alexander Community Center will be home of a new Cheektowaga Boys and Girls Club which planners hope to open by September 2020. State Assemblymember Monica Wallace announced Thursday she has secured $100,000 in startup money for the project.

Wallace joined Town of Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, Councilmember Brian Pilarski, Youth Foundation Chair Brian Gould and other officials to announce the plan to create a new Boys and Girls Club within the existing community center.

The Alexander Community Center is located not far from Cheektowaga Town Park and currently houses the town's Youth and Recreational Services offices and other town departments. The Assemblymember says as a former school building, there are existing facilities which make it an ideal location for a Boys and Girls Club, too.

"There's already an existing gym, a full kitchen, a theater, so it's really an underused space that will now be fully used and provide amazing opportunities for these kids," she said.

The state money already secured will cover the costs of creating the club's legal structure and hiring staff. Additional dollars are being sought, both state grants and private sponsorships, to cover renovations needed to address security and accessibility updates.

The Cheektowaga Boys and Girls Club will be affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club of Depew-Lancaster.

Wallace says the Boys and Girls Club has a proven track record of helping low-income youth improve their school grades, improve social and emotional skills and avoid at-risk behaviors by providing them a safe, positive afterschool environment.

"As a working mom I can speak to this firsthand, that it's also important to know that your kids are safe and cared for," she said. "They're not walking the streets, they're not causing trouble at the mall and elsewhere. They're where they should be."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.