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More than 30 volunteers, community outreach officers from the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) and Las Cruces firefighters spent much of the last two Saturdays in June prepping and painting the Police Athletic League (PAL) building, 700 N. Solano Drive, in anticipation of the gym reopening later this summer, said LCPD Officer Dan Trujillo.
“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,” Trujillo said in a news release.
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 will focus on 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 professional 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,” said Burke, who has been a firefighter with the Las Cruces Fire Department for the last 24 years.
On June 19, volunteers included world featherweight boxing champion Jennifer Han from El Paso, several parishioners from Las Cruces First and volunteers from 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 Home Depot, which also donated paint, supplies and breakfast for the volunteers.
On June 26, a group of volunteers and first responders prepped and painted the walls in the interior of the building.