Group protests potential closing of beloved Hampton Boys and Girls Club

Posted at 9:12 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 23:18:08-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Friday night, a group gathered to protest the potential closing of the Boys and Girls Club on Shell Road in Hampton.

They held up signs and chanted.

A place where adults created memories as children, the Boys and Girls Club on Shell Road could close to make way for a city fire station.

"The basketball court. I had hoop dreams, so I spent many nights and many days right there," said Brandon Dickerson.

It's also another destination where kids call home and one less worry for parents.

"I would pick my kids up after working all day and most of their homework was done, so that was a big help for me as a mom that worked full time," parent Deena Franklin said.

"Just having a good time and loving and playing together," said long-time Hampton resident Richard Edwards. "That's what kids are supposed to do you know? Growing together and not being against each other."

However, there's talk about possibly of closing the facility.

The Boys and Girls Club headquarters told News 3's Aleah Hordges last week that it's an old building and it would cost up to $500,000 to bring it up to current standards.

They also added that the City of Hampton has asked if it can buy the site to relocate the currently aging Wythe Fire Station to a more central location.

Now, a new Boys and Girls Club is opening in Buckroe Beach across town.

"Parents probably couldn't even pick them up because they don't have a car. Right here, the parents can walk and pick their kids up. The kids can walk home maybe," Dickerson added.

The community is fighting back by knocking on doors to petition the club to stay open. They're afraid if it closes there will be nowhere else for children to go and stay out of trouble.

"We have a captive audience of a hundred and some-odd football players and 50 cheerleaders and all of their parents and friends right here on this site," said Arthur Price, a volunteer at the club. "When they leave here, they're too tired to go out and cause trouble. They go home and get ready for school the next day."

However, nothing has been finalized between the City of Hampton and the Boys and Girls Club Headquarters.

The club mentioned if a fire station is built on Shell Road, it will also be used as a community center for kids.

The group said they have gathered more than 1,000 signatures.