Block Grant funding may deplete - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Block Grant funding may deplete

Albany- Only one word can describe the feeling. "Could you say ecstatic? Because we've been wanting something like this for a while," says Girls Club, Inc. center director Keysha Dixon.

It's a brand new gymnasium for the local children. The lights aren't on yet but the basketball hoops are stable above new foundation.

"Just to have somewhere for the kids to get instructional basketball with it being on the inside with the right markings on the floor and everything, it's going to help them," says Dixon. And the help began with money from the Block Grant Program, a program that may suffer from reduced funding because of budget cuts.

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss is working with other senators to head off those cuts. In a letter, Chambliss states, "The C-D-B-G program is a valuable community development program that has helped provide needed assistance to hundreds of communities across Georgia."

So they're writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls to urge the Senate Budget Committee to maintain funding for the grant which helps organizations like Girls, Inc. They're seeing dreams come true. "It was just a concrete slab outside the back door with two basketball goals," says Dixon.

But now building materials lay outside of the new facility giving kids a constant reminder of new days ahead. "They want it to be done tomorrow. They come up everyday and say 'they're not finished yet?' so they're pretty excited."

But if funding is cut for the block grant program, for other organizations seeking improvement, it may be a dream deferred.

The budget is set to be finalized in the Senate by the end of next week.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com