The Boys and Girls Club of Madison County will be re-opened within the next few weeks after a push Tuesday from Richmond City Commissioner Robert Blythe.

The organization, which was housed at the Betty Miller Community Center in Richmond, was closed Oct. 19 because of financial shortcomings.

The full-service Boys and Girls Club in Madison County closed its Berea location in October 2005 because of revenue constraints. At that time, the cost to keep the doors open was about $4,000 a month, said Shawn Quinlin, director of Madison County’s Boys and Girls Club.

Blythe made the motion that the commission go ahead and agree to temporarily fund the Richmond location until further arrangements can be made.

The commission passed the motion and will use seasonal worker pay funds under the Parks and Recreation budget to pay for personnel to facilitate the programs at the center.

The teen center in Richmond could possibly reopen as a Boys and Girls Club of Richmond site if the national organization is willing to recharter the club.

The need for a temporary solution was dire to the children and teenagers of Richmond, Blythe said.

“We want to do this because the kids need it,” he said. “Secondly, since we’re already providing the building and all the services, all we have to do is unlock the door.”

The Richmond Teen Center, which opened in May 2004 in the Betty Miller Community Center on North Estill Avenue, has 150 members and an average daily attendance of 30 to 40 teens.

“Many parents in the community have come to realize that it was a tremendous service and we hope to keep moving it forward, not backward,” Blythe said.

In other business:

• The commission passed a motion to give East Main Street the alternate name of Frankie Walker Avenue.

Richmond resident Ruth Ferrell, with the help of neighbors, family and friends, created a petition for the alternate name in honor of the Richmond native and current resident.

Walker graduated from Richmond High School and went on to attend the Tuskegee Institute where he became a pilot. After being injured in a plane crash, he retired and still resides on E. Main Street.

Ferrell told the commission that Walker was to soon receive the Medal of Honor for his military services.

“Surely, if Congress can honor him, we can name a street after him,” she said.

All addresses in the part of East Main Street beginning at the Big Hill intersection going on to Lake Street will remain the same, but historical street signs bearing Walker’s name will be placed under the original street signs.

• An order was passed to convey property to Bob Hager Builders Inc. to build about five low- to moderate-income homes.

“This was a piece of property that we hoped the Housing Authority would be able to build on, but their funds were cut down,” said Richmond City Manager David Evans. “Bob Hagar Builders has agreed to build moderate-income housing there. So basically, they will be doing the same thing the Housing Authority was going to do.”

• Evans announced that the groundbreaking for Liberty Place Recovery, a new women’s rehabilitation center that is part of the Linden Street project, will be celebrated at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, on Lake Street.

• The commission heard the first reading of an ordinance to change property-zoning classification. The ordinance proposes changing the zone of property owned by Robert Heyer at 25 Lori East Lane to be re-zoned from mobile home housing to single-family residential.

• The first reading of an ordinance to annex 23.75 acres of land into the city was passed by the commission. The ordinance proposes to annex property on Willis Branch Road owned by Thomas Vernon Reams and Gerre Willard Reams. The second reading will be heard Nov. 28.

• The city will be receiving about $55,000 from 1997 bonds issued for the purpose of building the Madison County District Court building.

The previous City Hall was renovated to create the building that now exists, Evans said.

“This will save the state about $200,000 on interest payments and the city will get 25 percent of the savings,” he said.

• The commission recognized the resignation of Tamara Tatum as secretary of Richmond’s Police Citizens Advisory Board and appointed DeAnna Boiling in her place.

• Richmond Police Officer Joshua Hale was promoted to senior patrol and the following were hired as police officer cadets: Phillip Powell, Joseph Lain, Paul Richardson, Mason Dale and Josh Petry.

• Bob Riley was appointed to the Richmond Parks and Recreation Board.

 Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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