hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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June 12, 2014

Keeping the dream alive

Youth boxing club close to getting new home

They refuse to give up on their dream.

Members of the Haverhill Inner City Boxing organization are close to getting a building in the Mount Washington area where kids can learn the sport and get involved in other activities to keep them off the streets.

Boxers in the organization have been without a place to train for more than a year, since losing the old St. Michael’s Church.

Things are beginning to fall into place, said Joe Ferguson, whose organization was recently awarded its 501-c3 nonprofit status, opening the doors to much-needed donations and the ability to apply for grants.

Ferguson said the building his group hopes to purchase, the old Polish Club at 220 Washington St., will need significant renovations.

“We have our eye on it but haven’t said too much about it yet,” Ferguson said. “Our biggest problem is rehabilitating the building, which will cost about $300,000. But it’s the perfect place and it won’t be used for just boxing. it will be used for educational purposes, too.

“We recently received our nonprofit status, which allows us to seek donations as we hope to put down a good amount on the building and finance it if we need to,” he said. “We have a little saved, but now that we’re nonprofit we hope to apply for grants as well.”

Ferguson envisions using the lower level of the building as a gym to train boxers and the upper floor for an after-school tutoring program and other activities that will engage young kids and keep them off the streets and away from gangs.

Previously operating under the name Haverhill Boxing Club, the organization was located at the old St. Michael’s Church on High Street, but financial problems forced the group to move out in November 2012.

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