Vinicks help make new Boys & Girls Club possible after fire

- Fire ripped through a building under construction in Clair Mel, east of Tampa on the night of December 2, 2016. Sheriff Chad Chronister said people from the neighborhood cried that night.

But kids from Clair Mel were all smiles Tuesday as they played in the new building that rose from the ashes.

"It's been quite the journey," said Chris Letsos, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay.

The new Jeff and Penny Vinik Boys and Girls club was dedicated with the Viniks in attendance. 

"We may be located downtown. We may be building our development downtown, but when we think of our objectives, we want to touch lives and improve this whole area," said Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and developer of  Water Street, the planned redevelopment that will bring massive change to Downtown Tampa.

The Vinik Family Foundation donated $2.5 million dollars for the new Boys and Girls Club in a community where many families living in poverty.  

Officials say 1,000 children a day will be served with after-school programs, help with homework, and other activities. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will also assign a deputy to the club.

"We'll put a deputy here to work out with them, help them with their homework, and play with them. That mentoring, that positive relationship will continue forever," said Chronister.  

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Vinicks help make new Boys & Girls Club possible after fire
  • Rescuers suggest more warning signs for Pass-a-Grille Beach
  • Hurricane evacuees arrive in Pasco County
  • Researchers study effects of microplastics on waterways
  • Get your flu shot now, experts advise
  • 'Homemade aircraft' crashes in Pasco County
  • Collier County murder suspect may in Bay Area using victim's car
  • 'Chubbs' the massive gator spotted at Palmetto golf course
  • Hernando Beach woman drives donations, toys to Panama City Beach
  • After Michael, local first responders return from Panhandle