I was astonished watching our new Mayor Bob Margolis when discussing the viability of approving the village cash loan to move the construction of our new Boys & Girls Club project forward.
He said during his election campaign thousands of voters voiced their concerns about approving the funds. I hardly doubt that when the previous council last year had public hearings and approved the funding mechanism.
His explanation was that approving a loan from public funds of the village to a private organization would set a precedent he was concerned with. It is not a precedent; it has been a tool to assist the Boys & Girls Club put up new facilities in West Palm Beach and other cities/towns, which have always been faithfully paid back from contributions and sponsor funds the club receives from donors.
When one realizes how much good the club does for our under-fortunate children in our village as well as serve other nearby local children, it relieves the additional burden of having these kids go to our village parks/recreation programs and provides a safe haven for them after school each day. Our local club has an annual membership of over 500 children, with approximately 136 children attending each day. Forty-seven percent live in single-parent households with little supervision after school. We provide a safe caring environment for their lives. It is actually a huge cost savings for our village not to have to handle these kids in our parks and recreation system each day.
As a member of the local club board I am glad the council finally approved the funds, and we now have a groundbreaking date for later this month. Once the club is up and running, the local children can walk there from one of our most needy transitional neighborhoods (White Pine/12th Fairway) and have a safe place after school until parents pick them up, eliminating the opportunity for them to go astray.
Thank you, Mary O’Connor, executive director of the clubs, for all that you and your staff do for our local underprivileged kids and for explaining the benefit to Mr. Margolis before the final vote.
Al Paglia, Wellington
Editor’s note: Mr. Paglia is a former member of the Wellington Village Council and was an unsuccessful candidate in the recent Wellington municipal election.