To the editor of THE EAGLE:
The future of the children and families in Adams is not political. At least it shouldn't be. For nearly 40 years, the Youth Center, Inc., located in the town of Adams, has faithfully served the youth of Adams, Cheshire, Savoy, North Adams, and other communities. Today, the Youth Center is looking to move.
Over a year ago, while working with the town administrator and Community Development Office, the Youth Center put together a proposal to use space in the former Memorial School building. This proposal was unanimously accepted by the Board of Selectmen and authorized the town administrator to enter into negotiations with the Youth Center. With the support of the Youth Center, the town received a substantial grant to repair a major portion of the roof of the former school. This project was at no expense to the citizens of Adams and was even endorsed by Gov. Patrick recently.
Now, some Selectmen want to see that building torn down before they allow the Youth Center to occupy it. Over the last three years, the Youth Center has seen unprecedented growth. Revenues have gone up steadily, nearly 20 percent per year. Membership has exploded exponentially. The Youth Center now reaches approximately 1,400 children in Adams and our surrounding communities. It is now time to grow into a new location.
The former Memorial School is an ideal location to let the Youth Center grow into a true community center, similar to the Dalton CRA and Berkshire South.
This is the time to forge partnerships, not to bank on false hopes. The Youth Center will soon unveil its vision for this space -- one that includes all citizens, from the young to the young at heart. It will be a place for the community to gather, to vote, and to learn. It will be an anchor to the downtown.
This is not a letter endorsing one candidate over another. Rather, this is an appeal to continue passing the torch for our future generations. Our community is crying for a safe and central location to house all of these activities. Listen to them.
EDMUND R. ST. JOHN, IV
The writer is the vice president of the Youth Center's Board of Directors.