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HUNTINGTON PARK : Keep Boxing Club, Supporters Ask City

March 06, 1994|MARY HELEN BERG

Supporters of the Huntington Park Police Boxing Club plan to pack City Hall Monday night and ask city leaders to keep their program alive.

The 6-year-old club at 6414 Rugby Ave. is sponsored by the Police Department, and its $75,000 annual budget is funded with federal Community Development Block Grant money.

After monitoring the club last fall, city officials discovered that only about half the young participants were city residents. The City Council voted to discontinue funding at the end of the fiscal year, at the end of June.

The council is allowed to commit only 15% of its $1.9 million in block grant funds--about $300,000--to public-service programs such as the boxing club, said Jack Wong, Community Development director.

"For us to fund the whole program and have only half the kids be residents here doesn't make sense," Wong said.

But club business manager Josie Rivera said that boxing has helped keep 5,000 boys off the street and out of gangs since 1988 and that most participants attend Huntington Park schools.

"How do you give the kids something and take it back when it is successful?" Rivera asked.

More than 100 parents have signed a petition asking the council to save the program, Rivera said. They hope the city will fund the club for one more year, giving organizers time to find another source of financial support.

The council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6550 Miles Ave.

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