WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – Waynesboro citizens can now donate money towards the city council’s push to open a Boys & Girls Club in town, but another non-profit dedicated to helping local kids wants to know where it stands.
The fireworks continue in Waynesboro between city leaders and the owners of a children’s program leasing one of its buildings.
COO Shatoria Rackins spoke with NewsChannel 6. She said, “Instead of having city officials that were working with us and for us, we have city officials that are working against us.”
The owner of A Child’s World, located on the 500 block of West 9th St., lease a building through the city of Waynesboro, but the owners of the non-profit said City Councilwoman Albert Anderson got an opinion from an outside attorney and it showed the city favors another organization seeking to benefit kids in town.
“The lawyer that Ms. Anderson brought in suggested that there were improper affiliations between the city and the Boys & Girls Club as far as gratuities and things of that sort. Whereas the City Attorney for the City of Waynesboro said there was nothing done wrong,” she explained.
News Channel 6 spoke with City Manager Jerry Coalson too and his take on Monday night’s meeting is slightly different. He told us, “That attorney told the council the Boys & Girls Club didn’t provide a substantial benefit to the city. Therefore, the Council adopted a resolution to declare a need for a program like the Boys & Girls Club.”
That resolution adopted Monday night gives the city more power to work on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club. Coalson said the city identified an existing account it had at Queensboro National Bank and Trust Company. That account is open for citizens to show their financial support for the Boys & Girls Club by leaving a donation. A move Rackins told us just isn’t fair.
She said, “It makes me feel as if there’s something much more that they have invested or involved that they feel that they may reap from it than an actual honest feeling that they want to help the children of Waynesboro.”
The city council did renew A Child’s World’s lease through 2019. But Rackins said it’s not the 10 year promise the Boys & Girls Club received, if it gets off the ground. And she said she fears the city still wants to push her program out of the building one day.
Rackins added, “It feels more and more like ok well, we’re just going to give them this to kind of be quiet, but long-term we’re still looking at undoing all the work that we’ve done.”
Jennifer Rackins, who owns A Child’s World, told me it’s heartbreaking to know that the city is an advocate for the Boys & Girls Club and systematically working to get her out of her building. She said that was made known at Monday’s council meeting.Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins