Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boys & Girls Club re-opens in East Garfield Park after renovations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A grand re-opening celebration was held Wednesday for a renovated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boys & Girls Club facility in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood.

After being closed for nearly a year, the facility now has new features and youth programming.

"Our vision for this club is that it really that it is a beacon of hope in the community not only form young people, but for teenagers, and for their families," said Mimi LeClair, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago president and CEO.

The center has been a community staple for more than 60 years and it had fallen into disrepair.

The MLK Club is one of 23 boys and girls clubs around the city.

"It's so important that we have places within the community that the kids can come to that are safe and are nurturing that give opportunities," said Bart McCartin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago board chairman.

And that's happening thanks to over a million dollars donated by private, corporate and civic partnerships. Virtually every room has been redone.

The Dr. King Club now boast a new indoor pool which replaced the one that had been unusable for years. They'll offer swimming and pool safety classes now.

The building has air conditioning and a gym along with a tech center and a teen lounge.

But people here say what sets this center apart is the state of the art recording where they want teens to find their voice.

Originally founded in 1953 as the Midwest Boys Club, it was renamed in 1969 for the slain civil rights leader.

Alumni of the Dr. King Club include several professional basketball players, politicians, surgeons along with those who hope to one day do great things.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.