LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Portland Boys and Girls club has been closed for years.
Andy Maupin worked there for two decades. He was a man known for doing anything for his community. He died suddenly last year while working for Ohio River Metal Services. Now, the club will get a new lease on life, in Maupin’s honor.
There’s a lot of work going on behind the doors of the old Boys and Girls Club on Portland Avenue. A group is trying to step in and pick up where the old club left off when it closed in 2010 because of budget constraints. They’re motivated by one man, who they say is an icon in this community.
On a hot summer day, the Portland neighborhood is filled with the sound of children at cheer practice and football practice. There used to be another place these kids could go, the Portland Boys and Girls Club.
“It was a great place to take them to get them in from the outside and into activities that were going on,” Joanna Miller said, who lives in the area with her children.
For 23 years, those kids could count on athletic director Andy Maupin to be there.
“Funniest guy you could ever meet,” 12-year-old Trace Ober said.
His sister Teagan Ober agreed,
“He was a great guy and you never heard him say a bad word about anyone ever,” she said.
Their grandmother Tina has lived next to the club for 15 years.
“My son went there every day when he was younger,” she said, “Andy was his best friend. He was like a brother to him.”
His lifelong friend Scott Harris admired Maupin’s dedication.
“It never changed, it never wavered. Until they shut the doors on this building, he was giving everything he had to the community,” he said.
When the club closed in 2010, Andy got an industrial job. Last April, he was killed in an accident on the job.
“It was heartbreaking,” Tina recalled.
Without Andy and without the club, the neighborhood struggled.
“So, you got a lot of these young kids down here that are out on the street, you know, and they’re getting into everything,” Tina explained, “So, if you have nothing in the community for children, what do you think they’re going to do? They’re going to get into trouble.”
Harris saw a chance to step in a do something. After a year of hard work, next week, the Andy Maupin Youth Development Center will start its first program, a career initiative.
“All the things that he taught us and shared with us, we’re going to do with today’s youth and we’re not going to forget about him. So I just want the community to know that. That we’re dedicated and we’ll be here,” Harris said.
It’s a welcome message to this neighborhood.
“It’s awesome,” Miller said, “We need as many things as we can in this community. Keep these kids off the street, actively involved and engaged in something positive to help them have brighter and better futures.”
The center won’t be exactly the same as the Boys and Girls Club. Beyond athletics, the center will focus on arts and technology. Eventually, they’ll offer computer courses, hoping to give kids tools they can use for the rest of their lives.
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