Anacortes Boys & Girls Club must vacate valuable Armory space

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 16 at 8:01 AM

ANACORTES, Wash. -- The Anacortes Boys & Girls Club is tasked with some unexpected spring cleaning after receiving a sudden eviction notice from the State of Washington.

For the past 12 years, the club has leased a portion of the Washington National Guard Armory. But recently the Guard told club leaders its taking the space back as it consolidates armories and needs more space. The decision may be good for the local economy, but it leaves the Boys & Girls Club homeless after its lease expires in October.

“It’s really difficult for us,” says Angela Freeberg, Unit Director. “This is a beautiful facility for us. The community has really come together to find a solution.”

“We have an on-going conversation with the Boys & Girls Club about their next moves, and what makes the most sense to them,” says Keith Kosik, public affairs director for the Washington National Guard. “Let me stress that this is not an adversarial relationship; we mutually care for and respect each other and what we both mean to the community.”

Club leaders pay the Guard $15,000 per year for 6,000 square-feet of space. The City of Anacortes has offered the basement at City Hall as a temporary home for the club, but Executive Director David Conover says its too small.

“Its important to find a balance for the city,” Conover says. “Regardless if we are in a park and under tarps and its raining, we will find space for the kids.”

Over the past three years, the Washington National Guard has closed or moved several locations around the state, consolidating into more efficient facilities. It says consolidating into the Anacortes facility made good financial and strategic sense. By the fall, the Guard plans to station about 150 soldiers in the Anacortes Community.

Club leaders agree that the Guard will do good things for the community, but the circumstances have them scrambling to form a committee to help find a new home.

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