August 29, 2022, by Thomas Breen- The Elicker Administration plans to convert eight underused parks buildings into youth, senior, and recreation hubs — with programming provided by both city staff and nonprofits. Mayor Justin Elicker, city Youth and Recreation Department Director Gwendolyn Busch Williams, and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn detailed those plans Friday at a press conference held outside of Coogan Pavilion in Edgewood Park. Standing alongside city department heads and alders, Elicker said that this plan to renovate, convert, and put to more active use various city-owned buildings has been funded by part of the $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money that the Board of Alders recently approved for a mix of youth engagement initiatives. These planned new “youth and community hubs” will be places for young people and seniors alike. “They know it’s going to be open. They know there’s going to be activities for them. And they know it’s going to be a welcoming place,” Elicker said about the city’s goals for these sites. He and Busch Williams stressed that city staffers won’t be the only ones providing programming at these community centers. Instead, the city intends to partner with nonprofits that will use these city-owned spaces for free so long as they provide cost-free community programming, ideally for a minimum term of three months. They said each program should also serve at least 10 people..."
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