Andover Youth Services’ tree lot is open again, with every tree sold collecting money for the proposed Cormier Youth Center. Daily, the holiday venture in front of Andover High School is sending dozens of Andover residents home with Christmas trees, wreaths and more.
“Every tree we sell brings us another step closer, because we’re almost there. We have 80 percent of the money we need,” said Diane Costagliola, Andover Youth Foundation chairwoman.
But, even after youth center supporters secured pivotal town financial support for the planned center last December, supporters remain hundreds of thousands of dollars shy of the money they need, leaving them talking about trying to build the youth center in stages.
The private Andover Foundation, charged with fundraising for Andover Youth Services programming and the Cormier Youth Center, is hundreds of thousands shy of paying off the Youth Center’s construction. Special Town Meeting in 2011 approved $2 million for the project, while a remaining $2.2 million was to be provided by the foundation.
With over $1.5 million in the bank from prior donations, the organization has raised around $100,000 this year, Costagliola said.
The cost of the building has gone up over the last year, because construction costs have jumped across the board, according to Costagliola.
“It’s kind of a moving number. It’s moving because, until we really bring it out to bid, we’re not going to know how much (is needed),” Costagliola said. “We do have some good potential prospects that we’re working on. We’re hoping that the culmination or close to the culmination of our fundraising efforts will be the telethon on the 14th, 15th, 16th of March.”
The Andover Youth Center Building Committee recently selected its architect for the project and is currently working through “value engineering.” In that, the board will “figure out how to get the most cost-effective building within our budget,” building committee Chairwoman Nancy Jeton said.