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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snafu delays $1M grant for Milford teen center

By Brian McCready , Milford Bureau Chief
MILFORD — State House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, said it’s “a little bit of a bummer” that the city will have to wait at least another month to receive a much anticipated $1 million grant for a teen center.

Amann said the money for the Boys & Girls Club of America was scheduled to appear on January’s General Assembly’s Bond Commission meeting agenda. Amann said he and Gov. M. Jodi Rell had an agreement that the funds would be released.

The Boys & Girls Club, a private facility for foster children, would run the teen center. The center, to be located at the West Shore Recreation Center, would be open to the public.

“We had to pull it because the plans are not complete,” Amann said. “I’m not sure if it’s the Boys and Girls Club or the city.”

Amann said he is uncertain how long the delay will last in getting the plans completed, but he wants the project completed.

“We’ve been talking about this issue for three or four years,” Amann said. “It’s a little bit of a bummer.”

Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. said the Boys & Girls Club officials are responsible for completing the paperwork that goes to the state. He said the grant money will go directly to the Boys & Girls Club. “We’re ready to go,” Richetelli said of the city.

Amann said once the funds appear on the agenda, it will not take long for the agency to receive the funds.

The $1 million will go towards renovating the West Shore Recreation Center on Benham Avenue. Richetelli said plans call for a second gymnasium to allow for the additional program space.

Talk of a teen center in Milford has been percolating since 2001. Milford’s Promise, a local nonprofit organization, held a “Youth Community Conversation” to address the needs of a youth center. In 2003, the city surveyed teens to find out what they would like incorporated into a teen center. Students said they wanted a place to learn video-making techniques, a place where students can listen to bands and music and a place to exercise.

Brian McCready can be reached at 876-3001, or briannhregister Visit the All About Milford blog at Blog Central,