Boys and Girls Clubs to open in North Park Hill

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DENVER — In May of 2008, gang members set fire to the old Holly Shopping Center on E. 22nd Ave. in Denver. The fire was set in retaliation for the killing of a rival gang leader, according to Denver Police.

“When the flames were put out, the rubble from the arson fire stayed on the ground for seven months,” said former gang member Terrance Roberts, who now runs Prodigal Son, an organization to keep kids out of gangs. “We asked everybody we could to clean up the area and help redevelop the site, but no one stepped up.”

That was until several community groups began working with the Urban Land Conservancy and the Denver Foundation. The groups came up with a plan of action and when the Boys and Girls Clubs got involved they went to the Anschutz Foundation for possible funding of building a new club on the site.

“We lived and grew up in central Denver and knew how badly a club was needed in the area,” said Libby Anschutz Brown. “Our foundation is dedicated to working with young people so this was a perfect fit for us.”

The Anschutz Foundation is giving $5 million to build the club. There is no time-table for ground breaking or completion of the project, but from city hall to the neighborhood, everyone agrees the new club will open up incredible opportunities for youth in Park Hill.