Relocating the Bowie Boys and Girls Club to the former City Hall would help legitimize the organization, say club leaders accustomed to holding meetings in a storage space, but limited building access may hinder the location switch.
The 1,200-member youth athletics club currently meets at the Meadowbrook building on Moylan Drive in Bowie, but club officials are hoping to move to the Kenhill Center, a site three miles away that formerly housed city government agencies.
“I feel that it is a better working space for us as a business,” said club president Joseph Hoyt. “We are in the business of doing sports for the entire community. Me being able to conduct meetings in a business location is better than me being able to do it in a storage location.”
Hoyt said the former City Hall site would provide more space and a conference room for meetings, although he is concerned he may have trouble meeting with parents, coaches and children during some evenings and weekends if the club moves to the Kenhill Center.
The Kenhill Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and is closed all day Sundays as it is still a government building that also houses the city’s Youth and Family Services office.
“One of the hard things that we’re having is we have people coming in at all various hours,” Hoyt said. “It’s hard losing that time on the weekends. Not being able to get in there on a Sunday might be a bigger pain than it is worth.”
Sharon Taylor, the club’s athletic director, said the club can use the current space as long as needed, provided members lock up once they’re finished, but she welcomes the move.
“It’d give us more space than the two little offices we have now and an opportunity to do more,” Taylor said.
Hoyt said he was hoping to move to the Kenhill Center by the end of September, but he has to work out details with the city regarding building access.
City Councilman Dennis Brady (At large) said he is confident access challenges will be resolved.
“I’m assuming that there will be some arrangements to allow them to operate when they need to operate,” said Brady, adding it would be possible to make it so the club could have access to the center while other offices were locked.
Hoyt said helping to make the center more attractive is its use by other citywide services such as the Bowie Food Pantry, set to move in later this month and the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce, which moved to the center in March.
“This location is very central in the community. It’s a good move for us,” said Kelly Pierce, the chamber’s executive director.
Hoyt said he likes the idea of Boys and Girls Club parents being able to use Kenhill Center for a variety of nonprofit services.
“It’s an easy walk from youth services to sign your kids up for sports,” Hoyt said. “It’s a one stop shop.”
Staff Writer Jeffrey Lyles contributed to this article.