Proposed town teen center belong at the island's community center
The following letter about the latest teen center proposal was hand delivered to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser and copied to the Press:
We think that the town of Jamestown is lucky to have such fine employees as Matt Bolles and Melissa Minto, and we welcome their efforts to create a home for an after-school program for our young teenagers. As long-time residents and taxpayers, we are pleased to support those efforts.
We have watched with dismay, however, as a series of poorly thought-out proposals for the siting of such
a teen center have been submitted and pursued. The most recent of these, where the second floor of the building at 23 Narragansett Avenue is being pushed for this use, is particularly wrongheaded.
First, let us suggest that an ideal place for such a center would be in the office, now used only parttime by the Harbor Clerk, in the northeast corner office of the Community Center. It is in a building that is ideally situated to attract young teens, many of whom have "grown-up" attending programs there. That building has appropriate entrances
and exits, lighting, a wonderful plaza for outdoor gatherings, and a large hall for occasional events. It is centrally located, and adjacent to some of the town's scarce parking resources. It is amenable to supervision by the town and volunteer personnel who work and run programs there. Teens who go to a center located there would not be isolated, but rather integrated into a vibrant community gathering place.
On the other hand, the second floor of the building at 23 Narragansett Avenue is not at all suitable, particularly when one considers
the limited access available, very congested parking, and the very active Narragansett Cafe next door. And, to be candid, the building at 23 Narragansett Avenue has not been particularly well maintained, and contains businesses which, arguably, already substantially burden the site.
When one takes an objective look at the site proposed for the teen center, one can imagine parents saying, "I don't think I will be comfortable with my child spending time there. I am worried about her safety. How will the kids get out in the event of a fire."
Imagine further, teens gathering on weekend nights, and when leaving their center, encountering directly the sometimes raucous evening activity on lower Narragansett Avenue.
We urge you to take a careful look at what is being pushed for here in the name of a very respected department of our Town. Consult with appropriate officials, and consider what is really needed to make the rec department's teen center program successful.
We think you will conclude that the application for a special-use permit, now scheduled for Sept. 26, should be withdrawn.
Very truly yours,
Nick Roach and Robb
PS: By the way, although we own property abutting 23 Narragansett Ave. This letter is not instigated by NIMBY passion. We welcome appropriate uses of our neighbor's property, and have been supportive and helpful to the businesses and residents who together share occupation of our wonderful village district.