GLENDALE : Closed Youth Center Seeks City Funding

The board of directors of the Glendale Teen Support Center has asked the city for a $20,000 contribution toward a $100,000 fund needed to reopen the center.

The City Council will consider the request on June 6 as part of a daylong budget review session.

Don Sweetnam, board president, said the council should contribute to the center because it was the only facility of its kind in the city where youngsters could drop by after school to talk with one another and with counselors.

The city has in the past funded the center, which was closed in February for lack of money. The city allocated $10,000 in its 1993-94 budget and $30,000 during the 1992-93 fiscal year.

City Manager David Ramsay said while the "overall issue of youth is of concern to the city," the council faces tough decisions trying to mend a $3.1-million shortfall in the 1994-95 budget.

Council members also expressed concern about the amount of money available in the 1994-95 budget to give to nonprofit groups in the community.

"I'd like to vote yes on each request, but we have a very, very tight budget," said Mayor Eileen Givens.

Special requests from community groups asking the city for money exceed the city's public assistance fund set aside for these organizations, said Ray Cruz, executive assistant to the city manager.

Five local nonprofit agencies have asked the city for $129,300. The public assistance fund contains $91,490 in the 1994-95 budget to meet such requests.

While officials had hoped to reopen the youth center by Aug. 1, board member Jack Bilheimer said facility directors are still planning how to raise funds to put the center back on its feet.

The board is also looking for a new home for the Lexington Avenue facility, Bilheimer said, adding that the center's former building cost $24,000 a year to rent.

The center, opened in November, 1992, provided a place for about 270 youths a month to socialize, study, play pool and talk with adults. Some of these teen-agers spoke to the City Council and asked council members to approve the board's funding request.

"When the teen center was open, I got better grades because I did my homework on the computer there and it was neater," said Nicole Wonser, 15.

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