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Updated: January 23, 2020

Spring groundbreaking set for $18M Boys & Girls Club facility in Hartford

Rendering | The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford has started construction on a new recreation facility in the city's South End neighborhood.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford (BGCH) on Thursday announced it will break ground this spring on a new $18-million recreation facility on land formerly housing the Alfred E. Burr Elementary School in the city’s South End.

Club officials were joined by city and state leaders Thursday afternoon at an event in which Gov. Ned Lamont declared Jan. 23 “Boys and Girls Club Day” in Connecticut, ahead of the ground breaking and to celebrate the organization’s 160th year in operation.

The event, held at the Asylum Hill Boys & Girls Club, 170 Sigourney St., also revealed new renderings of the development planned at the corner of Meadow and Ledyard streets on land the city gifted to BGCH for $1.

A campaign aimed at financing the new clubhouse is also nearing its target fundraising goal, according to officials, who also Thursday launched the “Dig In” campaign to reach the $18-million mark.

The campaign debuted in Oct. 2018 with a $1 million pledge from property-casualty insurer The Hartford Financial Services Group. The insurer’s commitment also included its chief executive and chairman, Christopher Swift, serving as the campaign’s chairman.

The soon-to-be constructed 30,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to help serve an additional 1,500 children in the city’s southeast corridor, is also supported by $7 million pledged by the State Bond Commission and another $3.5 million raised from personal funds of 30 BGCH board members. 

The development may also receive funding from New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), a little-known federal incentive that has brought major dollars into Connecticut over the past 15 years.

Christopher Swift

“With community-wide support from political leaders, the local community, businesses, individuals and foundations, we have made substantial progress toward our fundraising goal and are confident that we will begin construction in the spring,” Swift said. 

BGCH is the oldest club in the nation after being founded in 1860 as the Dushaway Club. Four women from Hartford established the organization in an effort to help create “great futures” for hundreds of thousands of local youth, said BGCH CEO and President Sam Gray.

Today, Boys & Girls Clubs has grown into the largest youth organization in the U.S., serving over 4.2 million young people a year in more than 4,000 clubs nationwide.

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