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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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8/15/2013 2:58:00 PM
Momentum builds for local teen center

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- There has been talk about establishment of a teen center in for a year and a half already. Now, the Cottonwood Youth Commission and an adult organizing committee has asked that it be established.

Tuesday, the Cottonwood council gave the go-ahead to explore use of the former fire station at Garrison Park, while also exploring other options.

Cottonwood City Clerk and board member Marianne Jiménez said there have been a number of fund raising activities with another car wash scheduled at the Walgreen's this weekend.

The board is asking for a lease of a public building similar to the Boys and Girls Club $1 per year agreement.

She told the council, Yavapai County has seen an "8 percent increase in referrals to the juvenile court system during the last year. There have been 735 referrals from the Verde Valley alone and the Verde Valley has a higher referral rate." The majority of offenses are for drug use, alcohol use and domestic violence.

The sponsoring Verde Valley Youth Commission wants a teen center to provide a safe environment for local teens to visit with friends and the opportunity to received mentoring, tutoring and learn life skills. The focus would be on at risk kids. A teen center was identified as the number one priority at the For Our Cities summit held in January 2012.

Allen Marx, a member of the committee to form a teen center, says the Moose Lodge has been instrumental in helping support the organization through its tax-deductible status and also allowing for the use of its commercial kitchen for bake-sale type items.

Kathy Wombacher, who has worked for Juvenile Probation, said that kids "need healthy adults in their lives." She suggested it was disheartening when the Camp Verde teen center closed. The fire station she said "is ideal. It is close to the middle school and juvenile probation is right next door."

Sheri Dutton added that the facility could serve the entire Verde Valley area.

Dan Lueder, the city's Development Services Manager was cautious about use of the old fire station as a teen center and suggested the city not spend six figures on a building, when there are plenty of vacant buildings around that the teens might use.

The facility is about 2,500 square feet but the second floor is closed off. He believes the staircase was built by volunteers years ago and is not safe.

The building is not ADA compliant and violates some codes. It only has a single unisex bathroom. His department developed a laundry list of needs to allow the building to be occupied.

The council agreed that the Youth Commission should look into renovations needed at the old building formerly used as a fire station and Verde Valley Ambulance headquarters. At the same time, they may also look into finding a vacant building that a teen center might occupy temporarily.

Taylor Waste
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• Editorial: Cottonwood Teen Center- How much will it cost and who will pay for it?

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Courtney Osterfelt

I am very excited to hear that there is going to be a teen center in Cottonwood. We are also trying to start a teen center here in Prescott. Maybe we could collaborate. I did not see contact info for the Youth Commission in the article. If you could post contact info that would be great or you can email me at I am so happy to see that there is another group of folks committed to youth in Yavapai County.

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013
Article comment by: Curi us

Gee, if no one from VVYC or Cottonwood government can answer a few simple questions that should have been asked of those providing the "momentum" for a Teen Center, should the city "spend six figures" to bring the desired building into compliance with ADA regulations and building codes?

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: Curi us

The Verde Valley Youth Commission mission statement, stated on their facebook page:
"Create and sustain a Teen Center that includes youth programs that empower teens in Cottonwood and the Verde Valley to lead successful lives as individuals and community members."

Would a VVYC member be kind enough to describe how the youth programs sustainably empower teens to be successful? Any examples? Are VVYC members prepared and qualified to staff these programs?

Who will take advantage of these programs? In my experience, most teens don't crave another highly structured environment staffed by adults. Have local teens been polled to determine what a teen center would need to offer to be of interest to them? Or will attendance be mandated by the juvenile court system in lieu of incarceration?

Can anyone tell me who comprises the VVYC? Their facebook page has nothing more than a logo and a list of fundraising events. What happens to the money raised at the events?

The contact listed on the facebook page is a web address: But that web address doesn't belong to the VVYC. Is there another website?

Thanks much for edification!

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Can A. Hestand please provide verification? -

In watching the council meetings on-line and reviewing the minutes or summaries from the web, no mention any commitments of $, especially anything like the number stated was to be seen.

As far as the B&G club- that was mentioned in the info packet- test pasted below-

"The VVYC was approached by the Boys & Girls Club to open a Boys & Girls Club teen club
charter in their building. After consideration of the Boys & Girls Club’s requirements (need a
minimum of 50 teens, pay a $35 registration fee per teen, only offer Boys & Girls Club
programs, all VVYC funds raised would go to Boys & Girls Club) to open a teen club, the
commission elected not to pursue this option"

Given the fragile state of the B&G Club maybe a plan "b" isn't a bad idea?

If you find the verification please post for all to see- if not, consider a correction to the orig. comment.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Ashley Hestand

What I don't understand is why the newspaper chose to leave out that the Mayor also committed to coming up with $200,000.00 to help renovate this building they are going to lease to the teen center. Whose magic hat is she going to pull it from? The city can't even afford the City Rec Center! And why exactly does the City of Cottonwood need two teen centers why doesn't the City support the organization that is established and been here for over 15 years. The Boys and Girls Club has been supporting and expanding to help the teens of this community why not focus the effort instead of dividing sponsors into choosing which club to donate to.
Lastly why did the City put the discussion and vote about this Teen Center on a Special Agenda instead of a Regular Meeting ... my guess is they did NOT want to hear what the public (tax payers) had to say about an unnecessary teen center. Where again is the $200,000.00 going to come from? The Police Dept or Fire Dept's Budgets - we know not for City Management that was spent on the Manager!
Come on City of Cottonwood start backing what's in your back yard!

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Winifred Bohall

I thought the Rec Center's meeting rooms were going to fulfill much of that need.

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