West pleased with new club’s progress

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2001

Local officials say they are moving forward with plans to bring a Boys & Girls Club to Natchez.

Rep. Phillip West, D-Natchez, said he met with Morgan Shands, special assistant attorney general in the youth services division of the attorney general’s office, on Friday to discuss progress.

&uot;He told us he didn’t anticipate any problem – that they were ready to move forward,&uot; West said.

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The effort is part of a statewide campaign to charter new Boys & Girls Clubs.

With $25,000 available through the state and another $25,000 available through the national Boys & Girls Club, the attorney general’s office had told the local community it needed to raise at least $25,000 – preferably $50,000 – and establish a board of directors for the club.

Shands had plans to be in the area on Friday so he decided to include a talk with West and others working on a Boys & Girls Club for Natchez while he was in town, West said.

One of the reasons for the trip was to discuss a timetable for the project and the next steps to take such as applying for non-profit status.

&uot;(He thinks) we could be established within a 30- to 60-day period,&uot; West said.

Meanwhile, local officials raising money for the club have already received pledges for about $43,000, West said.

They had taken a break from the fundraising but Shands has encouraged them to continue.

&uot;He has told us that we can continue to solicit because the more we get, the better off we’ll be,&uot; West said.

Many logistical matters still need to be worked out in the upcoming months before the club can open, West said.

&uot;I’d like to see it open as soon as possible but I’m realistically hoping it will be open before Christmas,&uot; West said.