Bingo news

Whites Seeks Zoning Variance to Continue Bingo Games

A zoning variance from the city is needed by the White's School of the Arts Community Developmental Programs in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for them to be able to hold a variety of activities, such as bingo games, which are already in progress because it is located in a residentially zoned area.

A big white banner hang between two poles in front of the former middle school turned youth center saying "Big Bucks Bingo".

The fate of White's School of the Arts Community Developmental Programs ability to host these bingo fundraisers, which are seen as a major source of funds for the youth center, lies in the hands of city officials. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, Board of Zoning Appeals will vote on July 27, 2006 whether they will allow such an activity in what is a residentially zoned area where it is not permitted.

The director of operations at the youth center, Larry York, commented that bingo will really help to cover their expenses year round at almost 25% to 30% of the total.

When the Village Woods Middle School was closed in 2002, Ralph White, who was a substitute EACS teacher and a martial arts instructor, established the center to fulfill his dream of helping underprivileged but bright students fulfill their dreams.

In January, EACS gave Ralph White the land contingent upon the school operating continuously for three years.

The White's School of the Arts Community Developmental Programs receive their bingo license from the state in March and since May of this year, the youth center has hosted bingo games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights. According to Larry York about 200 people regularly play, and the games would continue until this month's meeting where the fate of the center's ability to host bingo games are decided.

The VFW, American Legion Posts and Churches are the usual places where bingo games are held. More than $3 million dollars in net proceeds from bingo and pull tab games were collected in almost 26 establishments in Allen County last year, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Schools, Churches and law-enforcement facilities are commonly zoned as residential areas. But the problem with youth center's property is that the city classifies it as a neighborhood facility, where bingo is not permitted.

Officials from the center did not immediately realize the zoning classification would be a problem and only learned about it later when the city notified them.

The zoning board, according to Bryan McMillan the City planner, will take into special consideration the several activities that are ongoing or being considered by the youth center including a CANI-certified 24-hour day-care scheduled to open Aug. 1, 2006 that could draw 200 to 300 children daily.

Charise Dixie, the mayor's southeast area neighborhood advocate, said there have been "eyebrows raised" by the bingo. Like some residents do not believe that it is really what the center intends to do and it is quite disturbing to see a huge "bingo here" sign while driving by the area.

Larry York says that no one has yet come forward to voice their concerns to them and assured that the money earned from this games are channeled directly to the youth center's programs, which are being phased in. Youth center officials say their food co-op program is serving 5,000 children daily this summer.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Danny Hudson

© 2014, All rights reserved.