Atlantic high footballers lend a hand downtown

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Jennifer Davis, the owner of a Delray consignment shop called "Second Time Around," says a football team attacked her store. At least it was with cleaning supplies.

"When they are cleaned, and shined up, people are more willing to venture down these side streets," said Davis.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, dozens of Atlantic High football players trade their workout gear for pressure cleaners and gum scrapers. For their hard work up and down the 300 block of Atlantic Avenue, they're paid a hundred bucks for each storefront they clean.

"It was kind of hard, getting out of bed, six o'clock, on a Saturday, a Sunday. But it's worth it," said Chad Ward, an Atlantic High junior.

Yes, the money helps them pay for equipment, but their coach is especially enthused about the possibility of improving attendance for Friday night ballgames. Since the school moved west of I-95 years ago, attendance has fallen off.

"It just makes us better as a community overall. They can come over here and feel like they're part of our program. We can go over there and feel a part of their hub, their business," said A.J. Puente, the team's quarterback.

They helped spruce up an old bank building that was abandoned when banks were downsizing. The owner says it'll help him find new tenants, who might otherwise have been scared off by the smell of urine and the sight of gum.

"It looks a lot better than it did before," said Roy Simon, a property owner on Atlantic Avenue.

But their job isn't finished. The Delray Beach Downtown Development Agency is applying for a $10,000 grant so they can buy a better pressure cleaner to get all the gum off the streets.

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