In the fall of 2020, the Common Council approved adding a teen center. Throughout 2021 conversations about how to fund this project have been contentious.
But here is what I know: Fitchburg teens have been ignored for too long. The greater metro area often talks about rising problems among teens. Do we want to see problems get worse or do we want to do something about it?
The community wants this teen center. I live near the proposed community space on Fish Hatchery and grew up near the West Verona Road area. This investment has been needed for decades.
The Common Council has heard quite a bit of testimony about what a teen center would mean to its residents as well as how a teen center would benefit the city overall. Not only have residents provided invaluable input on the need for these projects, but research also supports the need and benefit of safe and supportive spaces for our youth.
The new budget kicks the can down the road on this project to 2030. We cannot wait that long!
In fact, continuing to ignore our young people will cost the city far more in other resources in the long run. Work has already begun on both projects and we need to see them through.
The Common Council needs to let Fitchburg know that it cares about the future of the city by investing in youth and young adults now.
The council must continue to fund these projects now.