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Commissioners approve a $500K package of youth programs.

ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz at a May 3rd commission meeting.
ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz at a May 3rd commission meeting.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners unanimously approved a half-million dollars in spending to beef up youth development programs in the county.

The $500,000 expenditure comes from federal relief money provided by the American Rescue Plan, and commissioners felt some urgency to put that appropriation to work, spurred on by a rash of shootings involving young people, and with summer vacation right around the corner.

“The summer is here and we need it now, so I'm really glad that we were able to do that,” said Commissioner Ovita Thornton:

The money will be split between six local organizations to provide a variety of youth-oriented services and activities, including summer camps, reading programs, athletics opportunities and more. The largest single award from the package goes to Chess and Community, which will receive just over $179,000.

Commissioner Tim Denson pointed to the scope of the projects funded by the measure.

“This is big,” Denson told his colleagues. “These grants here are going … to help serve 314 additional youth. That's not something to blink at; that's a big number.”

In a separate item, commissioners also unanimously approved a plan to award $1.4 million in Community Development Block Grant funding to an array of organizations. Among the groups slated to receive funding are the Athens Land Trust, East Athens Development Corporation, and Historic Athens.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.