Pink Slips with Silver Lining from McDermont Field House

Lindsay, California With a gym, skate park, arcade games and Flow Rider Wave Machine ... the McDermont Field House is a jewel for city of Lindsay.

With so much to offer the South Valley community, the center sees more than one-thousand kids a day and has been a huge success. But hard economic times in 2009 have forced officials to lay off more than half of its staff-- 33 of the 60 employees.

Lindsay's Mayor Ed Murray said, "A lot of it had to do with cash flow, the state has not been able to come forth with some of the monies we're supposed to be getting with redevelopment and some other funds."

Murray said the city saw the layoffs as a chance to offer the employees a business opportunity that could be both beneficial for the city and the individuals themselves.

Each laid off employee was offered a $20-thousand dollar community development block grant-- to start their own kiosk-type business which would operate in McDermont.

Oak Jefferies and 28 other laid off employees are seizing the opportunity. He said, "I really think it's a golden opportunity. Our loans are really secured against our businesses against the equipment we're buying and they're not going to secure a loan against a car or my house I mean."

The employees must pay back the loan from the state within the next year. Then, the city said, they have the opportunity to sell their business to the city or get their jobs back.

But for some laid off employees the city's business opportunity offer was not a good fit as they needed more than unemployment to survive over the next year.

20-year old Anthony Morales is upset the layoffs happened without any notice. He said, "I don't see myself doing that I've never done a business or anything like that and owning a business and making money off of it it will take time and right now I need something to pay off my debts."

The city hopes to have the kiosks up and running in the next couple months.

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