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Teen Center will teach life skills

Cottonwood Journal Extra of Cottonwood, Arizona

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After years of talking about having a teen center in Cottonwood, the city is in the final stages of making that goal a reality.

"The Verde Valley Youth Commission has been working towards creating a teen center in Cottonwood to serve the youth of the Verde Valley with a focus on at-risk youth. A teen center will provide a safe environment for local teens to visit with friends and the opportunity to receive mentoring, tutoring and learn life skills," a report from the city of Cottonwood stated. "Fundraising efforts have been underway under the umbrella of the Moose Lodge for the teen center."

A teen center has consistently been near the top of priority lists when the public is asked what they'd like to see in Cottonwood.

Last week, the City Council approved a lease agreement with the commission for the old Cottonwood Fire Department at 345 E. Mingus Ave.

The council also waived building permit fees for some needed remodeling before the center can open, fees totalling to around $320.

The city council approved the plan to allow the commission to use the old fire department as a teen center in August and planning has been underway ever since as organizers have been dotting their Is and crossing their Ts.

The youth commission is adult-led, said Marianne Jimenez, Cottonwood city clerk who works with the commission. "We are very excited," Jimenez said.

Everything was approved by the planning department as well, Jimenez said.

There is still a laundry list of things that need to be done to get the old fire station ready.

"We have to fill in a bay door," Jimenez said. There also needs to be a door added and a partition wall needs to be put in place.

"We're not going to be using the upstairs right now," Jimenez said.

A fire alarm system needs to be installed in the old fire station, along with handicap-accessible bathrooms.

The building has most recently been used for storage, Jimenez said, for things like the town's Christmas lights and decorations and some various maintenance equipment.

The commission plans on putting several things for teenagers to do inside the center, Jimenez said.

"A pool table, a ping pong table, a foosball table," Jimenez said. "We'll have a sofa and a big TV"

Jimenez said the center would also hold classes to teach various topics, like how to fill out a resume, manage a checking account and things like cooking and sewing.

"Life skills, pretty much," Jimenez said.

The center also hopes to have a computer lab for teens to use.

Jimenez said that the commission was still looking for people willing to donate equipment that's in good condition.

Anyone who fits that description can contact Jimenez at her office at 340-2725.

The commission is also holding a dance on Valentines Day, Friday, Feb. 14, at the Moose Lodge for teens ages 13-18. Funds raised will go toward the center. Jimenez said that any financial donations are tax deductible.

If all goes well, Jimenez said the center could open its doors as soon as March.

Copyright 2014 Cottonwood Journal Extra, Cottonwood, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 15, 2014

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