2007-01-04 / Front Page

Teen center taking shape at Community Center

By Donna K. Drago

There are no official activities scheduled for teens during the month of January. So says Teen Coordinator Melissa Minto, who has her hands full with trying to turn a section of the Community Center into the new headquarters for island teen activities.

Minto said that she is working with Town Administrator Bruce Keiser and local architect Ron Di- Mauro to come up with a plan for the space.

The basic idea is to tear down a couple of walls in the former harbormaster’s office at the northeast corner of the building, Minto said, In addition to the office space, a couple of large storage closets will be included in the teen center plan, Minto said, noting that the area for teens will be about 29- by 45- feet.

Among the features of the center will be a lounge with seating and a television for watching movies, and the other side will include a computer station and quiet area for doing homework and other projects, Minto said.

“It’s a cool area,” she said, adding, “It’s not big, but it will be a good base,” for teen activities.

DiMauro has volunteered the services of his Jamestown architectural firm and is currently working on evaluating the space to come up with a design, according to Keiser. Input was solicited from the teens, and the Conanicut Community Coalition, the group that originally wrote the grant to start the teen center in Jamestown.

Minto said she had met with folks from the Rhode Island Foundation, who expressed interest in the teen center project and offered some funding.

“Right now, we’re making a plan and then we’ll try to solicit bids from local contractors, Minto said.

“I don’t know how long it will take,” she added, “but I’d like to see it cranked out” by the end of January.

The harbor office will not be moved until the project is “ready to go,” Keiser said. At that time, the harbor office will be moved to the golf course building and then be permanently housed in the new town hall, he added.

Keiser said that at this point he has no idea how much the project will cost. After the bids are received, “we’ll know how much fund-raising we have to do,” he said, noting that they will ask the Rhode Island Foundation for some help.

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