1615 Illinois Street Bloomington, Illinois 61701
Boys & Girls Club expands into neighborhood center
Boys & Girls Club expands into neighborhood center 5th Jul, 2017

BLOOMINGTON — Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal has expanded into the adjoining Lawrence Irvin Neighborhood Center (LINC) and the club — rather than Western Avenue Community Center — will oversee LINC programs.

The transition of LINC from Western Avenue to the Boys & Girls Club has been approved by each organization’s boards of directors.

“The Boys & Girls Club has been in the community for 25 years,” club CEO Tony Morstatter told The Pantagraph on Wednesday. “LINC has been in the community for many more years. LINC has played a vital role for youth in our community. We want to continue that legacy.”

Irvin center programs — including the Teen Club, mentoring and basketball leagues — will transition to Boys & Girls Club oversight, said Western Avenue Executive Director Amy Cottone.

Boys & Girls Club and LINC are in adjoining buildings at 1615 W. Illinois St. Western Avenue Community Center is at 600 N. Western Ave.

The Irvin center transition from Western Avenue to the Boys & Girls Club follows the two agencies’ collaboration, at LINC, on the Teen Club, a development program for youth ages 11 through 18, said Morstatter and Western Avenue Board President Jeff Gendron. Financial supporters for Teen Club, which began in May 2016, include city of Bloomington, town of Normal and United Way of McLean County.

The transition also allows the growing Boys & Girls Club to expand, Morstatter said.

“Over the past three years, we have continued to grow as an organization,” Morstatter said. “We are serving more than 900 youth in our community and we don’t have adequate space. This is an effort to increase our square footage to accommodate an increasing number of youth served.”

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” he said. With the expansion, the club will hire an additional employee, meaning it will have six full-time employees and about 20 part-timers.

Western Avenue has three full-time employees and 21 part-timers, Cottone said.

Written By: Paul Swiech