Girls & Boys Club to change name after getting cease-and-desist letter

This drawing unveiled a year ago shows the expansion of the former Army Reserve building on Madison Avenue into Anderson Township trustee offices and youth facilities.

ANDERSON — A new fieldhouse dedicated to local children's programs is on track to open in December, but it won't carry the name Anderson Township Trustee Girls & Boys Club.

Concerned about what it calls "brand confusion," Atlanta-based Boys and Girls Clubs of America is demanding that Anderson Township Trustee John Bostic change the name.

And Max Howard, an Anderson lawyer representing the trustee's office, said it will comply with the Boys and Girls Club's cease-and-desist letter.

"Boys and Girls Clubs of America has 4,300 affiliated clubs across the United States and on military installations around the globe," club spokeswoman Sara Leutzinger wrote in a statement sent to The Herald Bulletin on Friday.

"As such, we are the stewards of one of the most recognized brands in the country. The Anderson Township Trustee Girls & Boys Club is not associated in any way with our organization."

Leutzinger said the Boys and Girls Club sent a letter to Bostic earlier this year raising the issue of "brand confusion between our two organizations," asking for a change in name.

Despite that request, however, to trustee's office continued to promote the new program under the Anderson Township Trustee Girls & Boys Club name, she said.

"After failing to change their name and continuing operations and fundraising while leveraging the established Boys & Girls Club brand, our organization sent a cease and desist letter to formally request a name change."

If the trustee's office fails to comply, the next step could well be a lawsuit.

And nobody wants that, Howard said.

He said Bostic's only only motivation is establishing programs that will nurture Anderson's children in a positive way, not to infringe on any other organization.

"We'll do whatever they want done to get rid of the problem," Howard said. "There are plenty of names out there. ... It will get resolved."

"As long as John's in charge it (the club), I'm not worried about what will happen."

Work on the new $2 million fieldhouse addition to the former Army Reserve building in the 2900 block of Madison Avenue is underway.

"This is big for Anderson and Madison County," Bostic said at the June groundbreaking for the new addition. "It has always been my goal to open a fieldhouse at the Girls and Boys Club."

The club, whatever it's new name will be, will offer a comprehensive program in providing homework assistance, mentoring and teaching skills to the children that will help them in school, as well as other activities.

And county and Anderson city officials have stepped up with financial support.

Earlier this year, Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. approved a $100,000 contribution from the city’s food and beverage tax revenues toward the operation of the club in 2017.

Last year the city signed a 50-year lease with the Anderson Township Trustee’s Office for the use of the former Army Reserve building.

And the Madison County Council approved $20,000 from the rainy day fund to help pay operating expenses for the youth club.

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 765-640-4861.

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