By Beth Reese Cravey for The Florida Times Union

An almost 50-year-old Jacksonville Boys & Girls Club is now named after founder Baxter E. Luther and an expansion has begun.

Baxter Luther was one of those folks who saw a need and took action.

In 1972 he saw that low-income children in Jacksonville’s Arlington area needed a safe haven and adult guidance, so he purchased land for a Boys & Girls Club and led fundraising efforts for the building and continued supporting the club for the rest of his life. (Read more about his efforts at bit.ly/2M8vHrs). Almost 50 years later and three years after his death, the Woodland Acres club serves about 80 youth ages 6 to 18 and an expansion that will nearly double capacity is about to get underway.

“This was his dream, to help kids in Arlington who didn’t have all the advantages of other kids,” said his daughter, Phyllis Arnold. “He felt like if they could get a leg up, that would help them. I think he would be thrilled.”

At a recent groundbreaking ceremony, the 191 Pecan St. club was renamed the Baxter E. Luther Boys & Girls Club.

It’s one of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, a youth-centered nonprofit that promotes character development, academic achievement, life skills and fitness through after-school programs, summer camps and other activities.

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From left to right: Baxter E. Luther’s daughter Gwendolyn, wife Rosia Luther, daughter Phyllis, and granddaughter, Alicia.

From left to right: Baxter E. Luther’s daughter Gwendolyn, wife Rosia Luther, daughter Phyllis, and granddaughter, Alicia.