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Group works to bring Boys & Girls club

A group working to bring a Boys and Girls Club to Pike County met support Tuesday from the Troy City Council.

Though the idea is still in the early planning stages, members of the focus group working to bring the club to Troy sought a letter of support from the city, and they expect to make a financial request as the plans come to fruition.

Group members Gary Fox, Scherryl Harrison and Lonnie Grooms presented the club’s story to the council members prior to its regularly scheduled meeting.

Fox, who has lived in Troy for the last seven years, has had the idea on his heart since.

“I was a part of starting a club in North Alabama (before I moved to Troy),” Fox said. “It had a huge impact on the community.”

And those taking an interest in the project, hope the club could make that same dent here.

“Statistics show if you can get a child involved three years in a row or more, they are more likely to finish high school,” Harrison said.

Harrison, an assistant district attorney for Pike County, said one of the other key things a Boys and Girls Club could do is help children stay out of trouble, in turn reducing detention and juvenile court costs.

“The critical time when children get in trouble is from 3 to 7 p.m. when parents aren’t home,” she said. “A Boys and Girls Club will fill that gap.”

Grooms, a representative from the Ozark club, said students in addition have proven to have a 90 percent improvement in reading, math and language arts and a 70 percent improvement in science since that club began.

Fox said the project has really taken off since November.

The group has earned letters of support from the district attorney, Troy police chief, Pike County sheriff and other local agencies. Monday the group addressed the Pike County Commission seeking support, and while there was no vote, commissioners indicated they were on board.

“I think it’s an excellent idea, and I commend your efforts,” said Councilman Jason Reeves.

The Boys and Girls club is open to children ages 6 to 18.

While the club doesn’t know exactly how much funding it will seek, its tentative location will be the Joel Witherington Life Center on Gibbs Street.

The council appointed Dorotha Thomas to the Troy City School Board for another five year term, which will begin May 30.

Also in the meeting, the council approved a retail liquor license for the Ducks Unlimited fundraiser June 10 at the Pike County Cattleman’s Association and awarded a bid for a hay baler priced at around $13,000 to Sansom Equipment.