Officials from the Laurel Boys and Girls Club say they are scrambling to secure funding for their summer program after an annual fundraiser at Laurel Mall was canceled because of the impending redevelopment.
The club stands to lose $20,000 to $40,000 after plans to hold its annual carnival on the parking lot of Laurel Mall was scrapped, according to Levett Brown, the club’s president. Brown said he was told this spring by managers at the development that the carnival wouldn’t happen because of an impending demolition.
“We were told by the developer that we can’t do it,” he said. “It’s just been up and down as to when they are going to do the demolition.”
Calls to the developer for comment went unanswered as of late Monday.
Demolition on the mall's parking lot was to start last year but was put on hold until after the holiday. Plans eventually call for the entire mall to be demolished and rebuilt as a town center.
The club has been holding the carnival at the mall, along Route 1, for the last 10 years. The club partners with a local carnival service and collects a percentage of the proceeds from ticket sales. The funds pay for the club’s summer camp and waiver program, which allows for lower program registration fees for low-income children. Without it, Brown said the club will have to end the program.
“That’s a huge fundraiser for us,” he said. “Financially, it will be hard. We will definitely not have [the summer camp].”
Moving the carnival to another location in Laurel is unlikely, he said, because the Route 1 location was the most ideal for the carnival owner.
The fate of the carnival is the latest financial blow to the club, which has been struggling to keep its doors open in recent years. In November, Brown and other officials at the club appeared in a student-produced video detailing the dilapidated conditions of the club, which is housed in the oldest standing building in the City of Laurel.
But Brown said that the board of the directors is still hoping to bolster revenues by renting space inside the building and securing grant funding from the state.