Bulldozers began moving earth to make way for construction of a new Boys & Girls Clubs facility in Eatonville after a kickoff ceremony that included the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) on July 8.
The WPHF in 2007 approved a $125,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida (B&GC) to support the new facility to serve children living in the Eatonville area. The funds were designated to support an endowment to help defray the new club’s ongoing operating costs.
Construction was held up because the B&GC ran into significant delays with raising funds needed to start building, and because of permitting issues with the St. Johns Water Management District and Town of Eatonville.
The new 9,000-square-food facility will replace an aging, modular building that is too small to meet the growing needs of the community. It will be fully equipped and designed to better serve club members who are between the ages of six and 18. It will be named after Joe R. Lee, a long-time B&GC friend and retired Chairman and CEO of Darden Restaurants.
Construction is expected to be completed by early next year.
The kick-off event brought together representatives of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, the Eatonville Town Council and WPHF, as well as children who attend the existing Eatonville Boys & Girls Clubs. The children talked about how much it meant to be a club member.
Current financial backers of the project include: Darden Restaurants, WPHF, National Retail Properties and Jack and Jill Foundation. In addition, Aagaard-Juergensen, LLC was selected as the project’s general contractors.