WATERLOO — The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Cedar Valley are looking at a new center to serve local youth.
The Waterloo Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a special permit for the organization to build a Teen and Educational Center at 809 E. Fourth St.
“We are currently looking into the possibility of obtaining land on East Fourth Street to use as a teen center,” said Chuck Rowe, the club’s chief executive officer. “Every day in the Cedar Valley there are teens with no place to go, no place to do their homework and nowhere to find positive role models.
“We are strongly looking into the idea of providing a space that meets those needs,” he added. “Today’s meeting could be step one in getting us in that direction.”
The proposed site, which is just a block from the Boys and Girls Clubs building at 515 Lime St., currently houses a 105-year-old retail building which has been vacant since 2006 and was recently acquired by the city through a court order.
The building has been deemed dangerous and will be torn down with plans to sell the vacant lot to the Boys and Girls Clubs through a development agreement. The City Council has committed $30,000 in federal Block Grant funding to the project.
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The permit request is expected to go before the Board of Adjustment for final approval on Sept. 26, including a variance to the number of parking stalls required by ordinance.
“I am a little concerned about the parking,” said commissioner Sue Flynn. “I’m all for the building of this, I just want to make sure we have adequate parking.”
Rowe noted most of the teens served by the club don’t have their own vehicles, while the small parking lot at the current location has been adequate.
The Boys and Girls Clubs provides after-school and other programming focused on character and leadership development, education and career development, life skills, arts, and recreation and sports. Bob Tyson, who serves on the planning commission and community development boards, applauded the club’s efforts to expand.
“I just think if it gets passed it would be a great addition to that area and would tie into the Waterloo schools,” he said. “It’s certainly needed.”