Cessna Eyes Massive Boys-And-Girls Club

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Wichita, Kan., is pondering an ambitious idea being floated by Cessna Chairman Russ Meyer. Meyer wants to convert the company's massive 21st Street Training Center into likely one of the largest and most capable Boys and Girls Clubs anywhere. Under Meyer's vision, the 15-acre site would become home to a club to, in the words of a Wichita Eagle columnist, "help struggling families, to tutor, to provide computer training, to educate, mentor and inspire young people." The catch (isn't there always one?) is that it would cost up to $10 million. The proposal is particularly audacious given the tough time Wichita has weathered in recent years with the slowdown in the aviation industry. The idea was floated (perhaps amid holiday cheer) at a public meeting in the building and there were plenty of questions about its potential impact on the neighborhood, including concerns about increased property taxes. But there was also general support for the concept. Another meeting is planned for Jan. 10.