Parents Blindsided As West Side Boys And Girls Club Branch Closes

(CBS) – The Martin Luther King Jr. Boys and Girls Club has been an after school and summer home to a revolving door of neighborhood kids for more than 60 years.

But in nine days, the East Garfield Park safe haven will close its doors for renovations until next summer — at least.

“It’s like a smack in the face for parents like me, because we’re just now finding this out today,” says Jamillya Walker.

She was set to send her two children to summer camp at the club. Now, she needs to find an alternative, she says.

The director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago says the organization did its best to notify parents. The club will close to put on a new roof, install air conditioning and refurbish the indoor pool.

Children who normally go there will instead be transported by bus to the James R. Jordan facility, about a mile and a half away.

But longtime resident Clifton Cooper, a Dr. King club member as a child, says crossing those lines — gang boundaries — could be dangerous. He’s also concerned the temporary closure could cause harm.

“You can’t put this back together once you disseminate it,” Cooper says.

More from Dana Kozlov

Watch & Listen LIVE