Boys and Girls Club president calls for communication about Dunbar sale

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

With the Troy Housing Authority considering a sale of its Dunbar Drive property, Boys and Girls Club President Isaiah Scott is calling for open communication about what that means for the club and Dunbar’s residents.

The Boys and Girls Club is part of the Dunbar Drive property, which the Troy Housing Authority revealed last year that it is planning to dispose of and sell.

Scott said he has not been told much else since a meeting was held for residents of Dunbar and the housing authority’s other properties.

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“When we heard about the potential sale of Dunbar, it was quite frightening to think that we might not be able to offer this safe space to our kids,” Scott said. “We serve 200 children in our afterschool and summer programs.”

Scott said he trusts that the city and county governing bodies support the organization and believes they will find a way to continue the club however necessary. “I know the support is there from our elected officials at the city and county level, they see the work we do,” Scott said.

Still, being in the dark about the future for the club has been hard, Scott said. “I have parents coming in here asking me if I have any more information and I just don’t,” Scott said.

The Boys and Girls Club leases the building from the housing authority, who had previously taken care of maintenance and upkeep of the facility. But Scott said the club must now maintain the building itself as the housing authority works on the sale. The housing authority even offered to sell the building to the club  earlier in the process, Scott said, but then rescinded the offer because of possible issues dividing the Dunbar property up.

“Even if they could sell it to us, the offer was around $400,000,” Scott said. “ You’re talking about an organization that works on an annual budget of about $120,000. There is no money lying around to make a purchase like that.”

The Dunbar site has caught the eye of the Pike County Commission, who asked a third party consultant to analyze the site as an additional option for a new Pike County Jail after originally having the existing site and a county-owned property surveyed.

Scott said he understands the needs of the housing authority and of the county, but he wants to make sure the needs of the residents of Dunbar Drive and the children who come to the Boys and Girls Club are also having their needs met.

“I’m just asking for open communication,” Scott said. “Sometimes we can get in a routine and not consider all the parties involved. Families are being affected. Sometimes we sit around our board tables and forget that our decisions are affecting real lives. I don’t think the voices of the people impacted are being represented well enough.”

Scott said whatever happens to Dunbar Drive and the current facility, the Boys and Girls Club will find a way to move forward and continue to serve boys and girls in need in the community.