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Allenstown Boys & Girls Club aiming for major expansion

ALLENSTOWN — When Allenstown Town Administrator Shaun Mullholland was a young patrol officer, he helped set up the current Boys & Girls club site at the Whitten Street Park in Suncook Village.

Now, roughly 20 years later, he’s helping to facilitate a roughly $1 million expansion on the property, which currently consists of two portable classrooms — one used as a teen center and the other for smaller children — in addition to outdoor recreational space.

Mulholland explained the recreation center has been a major benefit to the community, cutting down reported juvenile delinquency incidents from more than 600 a year to around 100.

“They’re not just roaming streets,” said Mulholland. “Now they’re learning valuable socialization, job and other skills that will benefit them in life.”

The current Suncook facility, however, is outdated and too small for the roughly 70 children and teens who utilize the Boys & Girls Club programs, he said.

Before the estimated $919,828 project can take off, Mulholland said the town must apply for and be granted a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Concord has to obtain $400,000 in Community Development Finance Authority Tax Credits to fund the project. In addition, the Boys & Girls Club will seek $100,000 in donations to account for remaining and unexpected expenses.

“We’re excited about the potential for a new facility down there, assuming we’re fortunate enough to get the grant and the tax credits and donations,” he said. “All those things will have to be successful for this to move forward, but we’re optimistic.”

Should all steps go as planned, organizers are likely to be informed sometime in the fall and are aiming at beginning construction next spring.

Wednesday, the Allenstown Parks and Recreation Commission, in a joint effort with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Concord, is holding a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. at Whitten Street Park.

Though there are likely to be several other required public hearings as part of the process to obtain the Community Development Block Grant, Mulholland said organizers are seeking preliminary input on three potential site plans from neighbors and others in the area who may benefit or otherwise be impacted by the project.

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