[paypal_donation_button]FLINT, MI – A youth center on the city’s north side may have to close doors after receiving notice from the city of Flint to be out by next month.
The board at Haskell Community Center received a letter from Flint saying the city is parting ways from the Flint Police Activities League (PAL) Corp., Inc., the non-profit that runs the community center, asking them to be out of the building by March 1.
Board President Trachelle Young says the program is much needed in that area and the eviction was unexpected.
“Most people think of PAL as a sports kind of league,” said Young. “That’s really what it used to be…but we have expanded it to so much more and not it’s primarily an after school program.”
Young said the center, located at 2201 Forest Hill Avenue, serves about 55 children per day Monday through Friday.
PAL initially provided mostly sports programs including basketball and football. Over the years other programs have been added including tutoring, mentoring and praise dance.
“We have all kinds of activities that go on in that building for the kids in the Civic Park area,” Young said. “I went to Civic Park. I grew up on McClellan Street. That’s my neighborhood. That’s my neck of the woods. I have literally watched that neighborhood deteriorate over the years. It’s almost nothing left over their but Haskell. Sometimes coming to the center is the only time these kids get to actually be kids.”
Young, addressed the issue in a Feb. 17 press release saying the center has had to deal with a number of issues since Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s appointed her a new administration.
“A letter was served on the Chief and sent to the Mayor’s office that included a complaint against the Chief for bullying and harassing PAL Corp. Inc. on December 19, 2016,” wrote Young in the press release. “There was no response to this complaint. Since the appointment of Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson, Flint PAL Corp. Inc. has been forced to deal with a plethora of issues, including but not limited to the Chief and the liaison officer completely disregarding the bylaws and policies provided and explained to them on multiple occasions.”
City officials say they are working to revamp PAL and they are asking the board to discontinue using Flint Police for their organization. Officials also said they are set to make an announcement about the future of the program and what they are doing later this week saying that the city will not allow the program to end.
PAL has been run out of the Haskell building since 2009. The national program helps bridge a gap between youth and local police departments. Flint’s program uses Community Black Grant Funds through the Flint Police Department to sustain the program.