Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

April 18, 2013

Youth Center plan deserves support


The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

The Andover Youth Foundation has been committed to the creation of a youth center in Andover for nearly 20 years. There have been some stops and starts, but the path to completion is now at hand. We are extremely excited to announce that the Cormier Youth Center will begin construction in 2013.

Since Special Town Meeting approval of funding in December 2011, the process has moved rapidly forward. The foundation and the town entered into a public/private partnership. The Youth Center Building Committee, established by the town manager, selected an architect and has overseen the youth center design with the goal of beginning construction later in 2013. As this has unfolded it has become clear that rising costs require an increase in the originally projected $4.2 million cost estimate for completing the project. To deal with the rising costs, the building committee developed a phased approach that would allow the construction of a building to start in 2013 and provide a viable, though incomplete, facility for the community. The Andover Youth Foundation has already raised the minimum funds provided for in the agreement, plus an additional $500,000 for a total of $2.7 million, which would complete “phase I” of the project.

In the past few weeks, Chris Huntress of the Youth Center Building Committee, Don Robb of the Council on Aging Board, and Rosalyn Wood, longtime benefactress, collaborated on a plan that would bring some additional funds to the project through the Wood Trust. This collaborative plan not only brings much needed resources to provide a base of funds for senior/elder service programming, but will also bring the youth center closer to completing both project phases. This step will provide a more complete facility for the whole community, most especially the seniors who schedule usage of the center at mutually convenient times. The plan for elder services support establishes an Elder Services Stabilization Fund, with half of the trust funds to provide resources needed for new programming for seniors. This plan will require approval at this year’s Town Meeting. We applaud all the parties who worked on this plan and are especially grateful to Mrs. Wood for her enthusiastic support.

This collaboration is and has always been what the foundation and AYS believes in; coming together to make great things happen for the community. We support this plan and hope that you will support it when it is presented at Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 7, at 8 p.m.

DIANE COSTAGLIOLA

Andover Youth Foundation chairwoman

Belknap Drive

ANDREA ZAIMES

Andover Youth Foundation vice chairwoman

William Street