Battle continues over Philly Boys and Girls Club building

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The battle over the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia, a 120-year old brick colonial revival in Germantown is whether it should be modernized or should it be razed and replaced with a 21st-century structure.

Some community groups want a historic designation to preserve the structure with a major upgrade.

Other community activists want to tear it down to make way for a shiny new building.

The sometimes heated issue has been before the historic commission for a year.

The warring sides remain at loggerheads.

Attorney Daniel McElhatton of the Penn Knox Neighborhood Association said, "That is a proposal to put an elevator in and do other things to allow this building to be preserved and enhanced with modifications consistent with maintaining the building and enhancement. "

Jerald Goodman, attorney for Boys and Girls Club said, "This structure itself has structural limitations. The floors are uneven, it has a huge atrium that is unusable and it's unsafe."

The future of this building which serves some 7,000 youngsters has generated a lot of heat among Germantown activists, and it continued at today's hearing so the historical commission postponed a vote on whether to designate this building a historic site, therefore protected from the wrecking ball.

Connie Winters of Germantown said, "This is really an important building on a small street that could not carry the traffic from extra usage, part of a significant neighborhood, a part of the historical context of Germantown. "

Rev. Allan Robinson of New Bethel Church of Germantown said, "That building was state of the art back then. Allow the Boys and Girls Club to build a facility from the 21st century."

After a year of negotiations, there are still no signs of compromise in the air. The historic commission told them to go back and keep trying for 90 more days.
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