Several volunteers and Las Cruces first responders spent part of last Saturday prepping and painting the exterior of the Police Athletic League building on north Solano Drive in anticipation of the gym reopening as the public health emergency subsides.
The PAL gym has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic and the building, even before the public health emergency, was in need of esthetic attention.
In years past, PAL has served about 80 registered youth at a time in various activities including boxing and fitness training. Upcoming plans for PAL are to focus on various activities such as chess, tutoring and other engaging curriculum in addition to athletics.
“We envision PAL becoming more of a Police Activities League instead of just athletics,” said Louie Burke, a former boxer and boxing trainer for the likes of Austin Trout and Jennifer Han. “We want PAL to be more inclusive and serve a wider-range of youth in our community.”
Burke has also been a firefighter with the Las Cruces Fire Department for the last 24 years.
More than 30 volunteers, Community Outreach officers from the Las Cruces Police Department and firefighters from the Las Cruces Fire Department spent much of Saturday, June 19, working on the exterior of the PAL gym. The work included prepping and painting the exterior of the building.
Saturday’s volunteers also included Featherweight World Champion Jennifer Han from El Paso several parishioners from Las Cruces First, and Wild West Martial Arts and Fitness. Three professional painting companies – Calderon’s Quality Painting, JRC Painting and EROD Painting – provided their expertise along with Raul Sanchez and Ronnie Navarrete from The Home Depot. The Home Depot also donated paint, supplies and breakfast for the volunteers.
Beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 26, volunteers will focus their attention on repainting and refurbishing the interior of the building. Anyone wishing to volunteer can meet at the PAL gym, 700 N. Solano Dr., at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Organizers anticipate reopening PAL to area youth later this summer.