West Memphis may withhold funds from youth club

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The L.R Jackson Girl's Club in West Memphis, Ark.

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A publicly funded youth club is under fire from two city council members who say it’s not doing enough for kids in the community. They’re considering holding back funds from the program, and as we found out, it wouldn’t be the first time.

The LR Jackson Girl’s Club got $38,000 from the City of West Memphis last year, but city council members Helen Harris and Willis Mondy don’t know where most of it went.

“There’s no programs going on over here, you know?… None that I can see, and I check,” Mondy says.

The city’s funding for that club and three others in town comes from un-cashed dog racing tickets at Southland. Last year, the council temporarily withheld some of the Jackson Girl’s Club’s money until it convinced the council it deserved the full amount.

“I’ve been over here several times. They yard hasn’t been kept up, maintenance work, a lot of maintenance work need to be done inside,” Mondy says.

Harris and Mondy say problems persist and if things don’t change, they’re going to suggest withholding money again.

“We know it (money) hasn’t been going nowhere because there’s nothing over there to see. So, if you’re doing something, you can see it. If you’re not, you can’t,” Harris says.

We went to the Girl’s Club to find out where the money went. We were told to contact the director who was off site, but we have not heard back. Harris and Mondy say the director told them a lot of their money goes to paying staff, but Harris and Mondy are skeptical.

Harris and Mondy say all four of the city-funded clubs are needed because there are enough kids to fill them up. The two council members want the Jackson Girl’s Club to be better run.

“It’s very important because our kids don’t have nothing to do and nowhere to go, and if you don’t have nothing to do and nowhere to go, you’re going to get in trouble,” Harris says.

Council members take up the issue next week and will possibly decide whether or not to withhold funds from the Girl’s Club again.