With an assist from a Cherry Hill Construction worker, Mayor Joe Ganim powered the controls to start demolition of the nearly 60-year-old vacant Boys & Girls Club in the North End to be rebuilt under Wakeman that operates a facility in Black Rock serving thousands of kids. Check out the video to see observers scatter.
Near the end of the video Director of Economic Development Tom Gill, followed by intrepid CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart and State Rep. Steve Stafstrom pull away from the debris. Standing strong clapping against the wreckage is Bridgeport booster Steven Auerbach who works for the city’s Public Facilities department.
After Lockhart dusted himself off, he filed this story.
Wakeman has been raising the $13 million necessary for construction and an operating budget for the first three years. David Blagys, a Bridgeport native and Wakeman’s executive director, was also present for the start of demolition. He said the fundraising would continue in earnest come September, with a flashy rappelling event off the People’s United Bank Building downtown.
Blagys hoped to break ground on the new North End building in the first quarter of 2019. Construction is expected to take 10 to 12 months, he said.
Blagys acknowledged the effort to revive the club had gone slower than hoped. There had been talk, for example, about renovating the original clubhouse, but the building was determined to be too far gone.
Full story here.