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Youth center opens its doors to teens throughout the Valley



Published: Fri, April 4, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The center offers sports, Internet access, camping and other activities.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Young people have a new place to go where everything is tailored to them.

Township resident Dave Kohout has opened a free youth center on McClurg Road across from the Ice Zone. An open house is planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12.

Kohout said he aims to give area teens a place to relax. He said every aspect will be tailored to teens, including entertainment, and eventually, an after-school study program.

"The goal here is to give teens of all ages and from all areas a safe place to come and call their own youth center," he said. "The facilities here are theirs to use."

What center offers

The recreational area consists of two basketball hoops, volleyball, three pool tables, pingpong, air hockey, bumper pool and foosball. There are also four large televisions with various video game systems.

In another section of the large, warehouselike room are seven computers with filtered Internet access. There are several areas with couches and tables and a fully equipped kitchen area.

A wooded area outside the main building has been set up for camping.

Kohout said almost every item in the center was donated or bought at a minimal cost from area residents and businesses, including the space in which the center is housed.

He said Jim and Kim Poma, who own the building, made the center possible by donating the space and "a generous amount of seed money."

Kohout said the center is for youth from all around the area, not just Boardman. He has dedicated a wall in the center to the placement of area high school logos and names to make students feel welcomed.

"In my mind, this isn't a Boardman teen center; this is an everybody teen center," he said.

Previous purposes

Several other ventures have been attempted at the McClurg location, including at least one youth center, but Kohout said this center will last because concern for youth is the main focus. He plans to build a separate building in a wooded area.

The center's hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday during the school year.

Summer hours have not yet been determined.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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