New club for kids nears its opening

LAKE STEVENS – It took more than 40 years, but the doors to the new Lake Stevens Boys &Girls Club are about to open.

“As the mayor, a person very concerned about the area and things for kids to do, it’s one more thing that’s a major asset to the community,” Mayor Lynn Walty said. “I really hope that kids will be able to stay after school and have fun, and mom and dad will let them come.”

The club is scheduled for its grand opening at 3 p.m. Sept. 8, but the community will get a chance to tour the club from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays during August to meet the staff and pick up membership cards.

Youngsters who pay the $20 annual membership fee between now and the end of the year can get up to four months free. The membership will pay for all of 2005, and there will be no extra charge for the rest of his year, said Jeremy Oshie, who will direct operations at the newest Boys &Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.

For those who don’t live near the downtown area, there is bus service available from Frontier Village and 91st Street (routes 221 and 280) to downtown Lake Stevens, Walty said.

Jim Mitchell, 80, a member of the family for whom the building was named, said creation of a club for youths has been a goal for the community for decades. He described the 7,000-square-foot club as one of the biggest accomplishments in the city in his lifetime.

Mitchell has just written a book about the city and his recollections.

Community members, service clubs and others raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the club a reality. With additional grant money from the state’s capital projects fund, the total project cost of $1.2 million will pay not only for remodeling and equipping the former Mitchell Community Center, but also will pay for construction of a new gymnasium next door.

The state Legislature this year approved the money and construction on the gym will begin soon, according to Paul Seely, the Boys &Girls Club’s community development director. Club officials already are lining up basketball league play for early next year. The gym is expected to be completed in late December, he said.

The Lake Stevens club has been remodeled and painted, but still lacks the furniture, computers and other things that will make it a great place for kids.

It will have a main game room, a multipurpose room, an arts and crafts room, a kitchen, computer lab, projection screen and a teen room for middle- and high-school students.

Call the club’s main office at 425-258-2436 in Everett for a membership application, or after Wednesday, call 425-258-2436 in Lake Stevens. The club’s phone is scheduled to be connected by Wednesday.

Reporter Cathy Logg: 425-339-3437 or logg@heraldnet.com.

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