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City buys historic school property for future Boys & Girls Club

MARYSVILLE — The city of Marysville is aiming to bring a Boys and Girls Club to the local community on the east side of I-5.

The city purchased the former 10th Street School property and baseball field from the Marysville School District for $1.7 million in January, a move that Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall sees as a step toward opening the doors to a drop-in youth center in town, possibly as soon as this summer.

The 2.5-acre property, on the 1000 block between Beach and Cedar avenues, includes the 12,852-square-foot main building and gymnasium, and as well as Rudy Wright Memorial Field. Kendall will join the Marysville City Council and other local dignitaries in attending the Marysville Little League’s rededication of Rudy Wright Memorial Field, at the intersection of 10th Street and Cedar Avenue, at 4:30 p.m. on April 18.

One of Kendall’s goals over the past few years has been to bring a Boys and Girls Club to Marysville, and he’s been in talks with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County to make this dream a reality. He pointed out that this same building once served local youth as the original Marysville YMCA, and deemed the opportunity to buy the building “a deal too good to pass up.”

Kendall noted the number of apartment complexes, duplexes, residences and low-income households in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the facility, and he emphasized the importance of offering the young children and teens who live in those neighborhoods appropriate programs, recreation, a safe place to go during after-school hours and on weekends, and a place to call their own.

“Thanks to the partnership we’re building with the Boys and Girls Club, this is going to make a real difference for our community’s youth,” Kendall said. “A lot of parents are commuting nowadays, and they want to know that their children have a safe and positive place to learn, recreate and be mentored. The Boys and Girls Club will be able to offer programs on a limited scale initially, inspiring young people and having an impact on their lives, which is what their organization does so well.”

City of Marysville Community Information Officer Doug Buell summarized the history of the 10th Street property, starting in 1906, when voters approved a $6,000 bond to build the city’s first high school there. Marysville High School opened a year later, with a graduating class of two students. The facility was only used as a high school until 1914, after which it reopened as the original Marysville YMCA in the early 1960s. The YMCA building was transferred to the Marysville School District in the 1990s, when the current Marysville YMCA opened at the intersection of state Route 528 and 60th Drive NE. The 10th Street School, a music-oriented option school, relocated to the Marysville “Options Campus,” at 27th Avenue NE in Tulalip, when that campus opened in May of 2008.

Kendall promised that community leaders have already committed funds to offer limited programs at the Boys and Girls Club starting next month. He elaborated that city leaders are also seeking state capital budget funding from the legislature to improve the facility.

At the start of April, the state Senate released its 2009-2011 capital budget, which includes $500,000 for the Marysville Boys and Girls Club.

“These clubs are so important to the long-term growth of our kids,” said state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens. “They offer young people a safe place to learn and play. I’m glad the Senate recognizes how important it is to invest in projects that will benefit our kids for years to come.”

“These projects are important to the long-term growth of our community,” said state Sen. Jean Berkey, D-Everett. “But this is only a proposal. People should contact their representatives in the House and let them know this funding should remain in the final capital budget agreement.”

Kendall echoed Berkey’s words, and expressed concern over the fact that the $500,000 for the Marysville Boys and Girls Club is not reflected in the state House of Representatives’ 2009-2011 capital budget. In particular, Kendall has contacted state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, about this “possible oversight,” since Kendall characterized Dunshee as a legislator whose record has been dedicated to supporting youth activities.

“In this economy, I understand that there’s a line, but at the very least, we need to be able to get in that line,” Kendall said. “It will take a lot of people and groups in the community to pull this together, but it will be a worthwhile investment in our youth.”

The $3.3 billion 2009-2011 capital budget aims to fund K-12 and higher education infrastructure projects, create jobs and build quality communities.

The budget is nearly $700 million less than the governor’s proposed budget and about $1.3 billion, or 29 percent, less than the 2007-2009 biennium.

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