Article: Nashua’s PAL facility to receive major makeover

Union Leader

NASHUA — The Nashua Police Athletic League facility will undergo a major renovation project after being selected as the next Building on Hope project.

Building on Hope is a community organization that offers improvements to non-profit facilities. On Wednesday, the group announced that Nashua PAL was selected among a group of about 15 non-profit organizations for Building on Hope’s newest restoration initiative.

“Nashua PAL has an amazing program with amazing support, and they are entrenched in a neighborhood that has a lot of at-risk kids that come out to this program,” said Jonathan Halle, Building on Hope co-chair.

Despite the strong program, Halle said the PAL facility at Youth Safe Haven, 52 Ash St., does not reflect the positive work that is done on a daily basis at the site.

“We are expecting that donated labor and materials will come close to half a million dollars. The scope of the project is still being talked through, but it is almost a gut renovation,” he said.

Possible improvements to the PAL building include a new elevator, new bathrooms, office space, a kitchen, an expansion of its learning center and game room and space for a boxing program on the second level, according to Halle.

Founded in 1989, Nashua PAL currently serves more than 2,000 area youth and offers about 16 different programs focusing on homework tutoring, computer learning, football and spirit programs and other initiatives highlighting healthy fitness and educational activities.

Two years ago, PAL expanded its mentoring program, Mentors in Action, to provide city youth with guidance, educational assistance and other advice to help them set goals and craft their futures.

When selecting PAL for the Building on Hope renovation project, Halle said it was chosen because improvements to the service organization will have the biggest impact on the community and its children.

In 2016, the Manchester PAL facility was selected for renovations as well through a seperate Building on Hope project. Halle said the improvements helped expand PAL’s enrollment in Manchester, and provided a positive connection between city youth and the police department.

He believes the same will take place in the Gate City.

“It feels like we are bursting at the seams with our current layout and we are ecstatic to think creatively about optimizing space to best serve a growing population,” Shaun Nelson, executive director of Nashua PAL, said in a statement. “With Building on Hope’s support, we will be able to further demonstrate to these kids that their community cares deeply for their success and continue to focus on our mission of keeping our youth active, productive and safe.”

Building on Hope is planning its volunteer build week for May 2020. The Youth Safe Haven will be closed for about one week during the major renovation project. Community volunteers will be sought to help with the initiative.

“Planning for this project is well underway already, and we can’t wait to provide these kids with a space that feels renewed and reflective of the positive energy they exude,” Karen Van Der Beken, Building on Hope co-chair, said in a release.

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