Construction on the $18 million George Sim Community Center in the Glen Elder/Avondale section of the city was completed barely two years ago. But due to budget cuts, the center's doors are already shuttered four days a week.
The area's councilman, Kevin McCarty, along with community organizers, businesses, churches and unions are chipping away at the closures.
McCarty and others are launching the "D6 Hot Spot" on Friday. The program will open the community center every Friday night for the next year from 7 p.m. to midnight, giving teens a place to play basketball and volleyball, watch movies and take part in other activities.
McCarty notes that there have been 32 arrests of juveniles in the area around the community center on Friday nights in the past two years alone.
"Given our City's budget situation, I hope this can serve as a model public-private partnership to increase needed options for our youth," McCarty said. "We need to help keep teens out of trouble by giving them positive and safe places to go on Friday nights."
McCarty raised money from businesses, non-profits, labor unions and churches to open the doors of the center on Fridays and staff it with city parks workers. He said they've raised $40,000 - enough to keep the program running for the next year.