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Loving arms of private and public sector forge $1 million Hunters Point
youth center

This is a crown jewel of what we can do together,
reports District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

January 7, 2006

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell yesterday credited the "loving arms of this City" for putting together a million-dollar deal to serve Hunters Point youth.

Funding for the new $1 million Hunters Point Clubhouse comes as part of a legal settlement between owners and tenants of four District 10 housing projects.

The deal calls for San Francisco Boys and Girls Club to operate the clubhouse, a long-term lease with the City, and opening of a community policing office nearby.

"This is going to be a crown jewel," Maxwell said.

"Our children are going to be able to go camps all over the country with the Boys and Girls Club. Our young people who want to be involved with youth can also have jobs…they can have national jobs.

"The buzz is already there. If you go up on that hill you can feel the buzz - the kids are buzzing, the adults are buzzing, everybody is looking forward to something happening, something great and something positive," the District 10 supervisor added.

Maxwell thanked tenants for their tenacity since their 1994 lawsuit against AIMCO which owns and operates the projects.

"They really were the bird dogs. They called my office - we met almost weekly talking about the issues that they had," Maxwell recalled.

"And then the City Attorney and the City got involved and they really saw what the City can do - and they really felt the loving arms of this City, and I really want to say that of this City."

The new center will operate out of the Milton Meyer Complex located at 195 Kiska Road. Neighborhood violence has kept the Meyer Complex mostly unused.

Location of clubhouse services will renew self-esteem of area young people, Mayor Gavin Newsom predicted in the morning City Hall press conference.

We all have to be recognized, to have self-worth, to have self-esteem,
reminded San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

"I think this effort underscores as well the idea that we have…that an armed camp is not a place of peace and if we're going to deal fundamentally with the issues of crime and violence we've got to do it in a much more comprehensive way," the mayor noted.

"We've got to do it in a parallel track with not just stopping the crime in its tracks but dealing with the underlying consequences…that's why initiatives are so fundamental, so crucial, because they are about positive things.

"They are about bringing people together. They're about dealing with the need that we all have and that is to be recognized, to have self-worth, to have self-esteem, to have purpose and Boys and Girls Club underscores that."

An AIMCO representative described the Boys and Girls Club as best choice to head the center.

"I am very familiar with this organization nationwide," said Miles Cortez, AIMCO executive vice president and general counsel.

AIMCO's Miles Cortez

"I've worked with them before and that's exactly why their selection as the non-profit…was spot on in terms of what we thought was the right organization.

"We think the world of Boys and Girls Clubs," Cortez stated.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised AIMCO for its cooperation in the project.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera thanks an adversary
for cooperation on behalf of youth

"Oftentimes during the course of litigation you have ups and downs and there are arguments you have with your adversaries, but I can't tell you how appreciative the City Attorney's Office is, and the City as a whole, to AIMCO's willingness to be creative, to do what is right for the city," Herrera stated.

The private sector also contributed to the project.

Along with San Francisco Giants pitcher Kirk Reuter, the Giants contributed some $200,000 toward a community baseball field at the site.

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to contribute another $300,000 toward the project, and the Bayview Rotary Club pledged a $150,000 donation over five years.

Popular Boys and Girls Club leader Reuben Smith came out of retirement to help steer the project.

"For those of you who know Hunters Point you know that Reuben Smith gave 38 years of his life up in Hunters Point as executive director there of the Boys and Girls Club," said Rob Connolly, president of the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club.

"He retired five years ago and he agreed to come back on to work with us in support of this project."

Maxwell lauded efforts of private and public sectors intertwined for community benefit.

"This is really the best we can do - when we want to do something great we are there. We have everything we need to do that."

AIMCO vice president Miles Cortez, left, delivers check
to Boys and Girls Club president Rob Connolly




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