The Board of Selectmen approved two upgrades for the Cormier Family Youth Center this week, but not before concerns of past promises being broken and public pressure to take time on the decisions hit the table.
The decisions — to tap a $125,000 gift account as well as funnel funds for a town heating and cooling center into the project — are only the latest steps in a 20-odd-year quest to build a home for the town’s youth.
While some tension permeated the discussion leading to the votes, selectmen in the end OK’d both measures by 4-1 votes.
First, the board authorized Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey to use the $125,000 gift account to support the project.
Fahey initially proposed directing the funds toward widening the center’s proposed gym by 4 feet, but the money could end up going to other parts of the project, according to officials.
The selectmen’s vote was to deem the building project an “appropriate use” of the gift account and “for the use to be determined between the town manager, building committee and Andover Youth Services.”
Some public comment at the meeting focused on the chances of the money going to something other than the gym.
College Circle resident Michael Roli said Fahey “wants the gym bigger. What I’m hearing is, ‘give the money to the committee.’ That’s (Fahey’s) money — not really his money, town’s money. But he has a purpose, to expand the gym — not to give them the money to do whatever they want to do with it.”
Fahey said while he hopes the money will support expanding the gym, he doesn’t have an issue with it funding another part of the project.
But he added, “We have to use it toward the building, this building is for the Town of Andover.”