Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

December 13, 2012

Tree lot popular as Youth Center fundraising continues

Tree lot popular, but more substantial money needed

(Continued)

“Functionally, we feel that we can deliver a building within the budget that still meets what people have been talking about,” Jeton said.

In the event that the gap can’t be closed before the town breaks ground on the project in June, the building could be built in phases, according to Jeton.

“If you think of the building in three parts, the northern part of the building is the classroom spaces and lounge spaces, the middle part of the building is the lobby, multipurpose and fitness area, and the southern component is the gym,” she said.

The popular plan right now is to “build the first two, put a temporary wall on the south side, lay the foundation for the gym, and have an outdoor basketball space until the money is raised to complete the gym,” Jeton said.

Under the agreement, the youth foundation must raise and spend the $2.2 million before the Special Town Meeting approved $2 million can be accessed, so the first phase of the project would be build entirely with donations, not tax money.

Back at the tree lot, however, the financials behind the project aren’t part of tree-shopping conversations. Youth Services’ future is instead.

“I feel like we’re paying it forward,” resident Heather Marquis said as her two children, aged 2 and 5 looked at items for sale at the lot.

Marquis was shopping at the lot for her sixth year in a row, dating back to when she first moved to the town. This past week, she was making a return trip for a wreath and greens after already buying a tree earlier in the month.

“The youth center does a lot for the community, and soon we’ll be at that point when our children get older,” Marquis said. “My children will be able to go to the youth center.”

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