Volunteers give makeover to KC police center for youths

It was a fine day Saturday for trimming trees, planting bushes, watering grass, painting inside and outside, installing siding and gutters, fixing the roof, doing some electrical work and plumbing — whoa, a spring honey do list gone wild.

All of that, and more, happened Saturday at the Police Athletic League Center, 1801 White Ave., about five miles east of downtown. The center, staffed by a Kansas City police unit, serves more than 600 young people.

It really needed a makeover, and that’s where Christine Lentz came in.

Lentz, president of Curry Association Management, a property management company, called out the troops, so to speak, to assist. That included not only Curry employees but more than a dozen companies that work with Curry. The companies volunteered materials and expertise in everything from landscaping to electrical and mechanical work.

Lentz is a friend of Sgt. Skip Cox of the Police Athletic League.

Cox had mentioned the need for some repairs at the center, which is home to youth basketball, boxing and other sports; a learning center and food program; and activities that include gardening, sewing and reading.

“I just said, ‘Hey, let’s help,’” Lentz said as she scraped and repainted a light pole in the center’s parking lot. “It’s amazing what these officers do to help these kids. And once you see the kids and all the good stuff that’s going on here, how can you not want to help?”

Among the contractors on hand Saturday were Paul Davis Restoration, Baxter Mechanical Contractors, Messenger’s Lawn & Landscape, Mark One Electric Co., Electrical Investments, Jin D. Kim Construction, Dayco Painting, McGuire Locks & Safe and Pyramid Roofing.

And police officers and a host of Curry volunteers.

“I’m on the cleaning crew,” said Lindsay Choules, a Curry property manager, holding a spray bottle of cleaner in one hand and a rag in the other. “This is a huge facility and it needs some love and care. I’m happy to do it. I’d like to come back and volunteer with the kids.”

Cox said the police staff of eight at the center didn’t have the expertise or resources to do much more than “apply Band-Aids” when repairs are needed.

“They really took this and ran with it,” Cox said of Curry and the contractors.

Nancy Simons, a PAL board member, said the work to improve the center will be a great benefit to the youngsters.

“Many of them don’t have a dad at home, and these officers are such positive role models for them,” Simons said.

Lentz said that while much would be accomplished Saturday, she didn’t see that as the end of the story.

“I look around and see more projects we could do,” she said. “We’re going to continue to help with a preventive maintenance program. And if anyone out there would like to help with future projects, I would love it.”