Youth issues raised: City hears appeal for youth center support
Jerry Mayer has a suggestion for how the city can address one of its recently identified critical issues. He just needs the Dickinson City Commission's help to do it. During a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, the Dickinson City Commissio...
Jerry Mayer has a suggestion for how the city can address one of its recently identified critical issues.
He just needs the Dickinson City Commission's help to do it.
During a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, the Dickinson City Commission heard a report from Mayer, who is the director of the Sunrise Youth Bureau.
"Our vision is to have one building with the youth bureau and the youth center centrally located," Mayer said. "Our vision is to provide a safe, secure and supervised environment for youth."
Mayer said the youth bureau and youth center could solve the issues of unattended youth at community buildings and provide a place for fifth to eighth graders after school.
However, he said the current location south of the Dickinson Dike is not favorable.
"It's not convenient for parents to drop their children off," Mayer said. "The youth center has the attitude of out of sight, out of mind."
Mayer said at this point, the youth center, which is located apart from the bureau, is barely financially feasible.
The Sunrise Youth Bureau is subsidized by the county, of which a majority is funded through city taxes. Mayer said the bureau building is not large enough to support the center's activities.
Mayer chose to address the city now because the center was recently dealt another funding blow. Dickinson Parks and Recreation, which pays for the center's utilities, will no longer do so effective July 1.
Mayer said the utilities cost approximately $500-800 per month.
Mayer asked the city for suggestions as how to proceed in the future.
Commissioner Carson Steiner raised the tough question.
"Would even keeping it open and paying the utilities be worth it?" Steiner said.
He said since the youth center served so few people, 10-15 students per day and 150 for an activity, it might be better to close it and begin to look at a long-term solution to child care issues.
Commissioner Rhonda Dukart agreed that paying the utilities may be a Band-aid for a larger issue.
She recommended seeing if there was a way to combine existing talents in the city for the child care issue.
Mayor Dennis Johnson suggested Mayer talk to West River Community Center about utilizing space for a youth center at its facility.
"I think I would encourage you to talk to them," Johnson said.
Johnson said the back gym at WRCC is specifically designed to accommodate dances.
"I think that all we can do at this point with the request is ponder it some and ask you to come back on the agenda in one or two meetings down the road," Johnson said.
Mayer said he would establish a task force to find solutions to the issues facing the Sunrise Youth Bureau.
In an unrelated matter, the commissioners unanimously approved a renaissance zone request to TMI Systems Design Corp.
Johnson abstained as he is the chief executive officer of the company.
Danielle Stuckle, the city's historic preservationist, said the request met and exceeded the requirements, offering to do in excess of $2 million in construction on a $40,000 property.
In order to meet requirements, the owner must invest at least 50 percent of the value of the property.
The renaissance zone request must be submitted before the owner can purchase the property. TMI President Dean Rummel said the company was still finalizing details with the current owner Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway so has not yet purchased the building.
Rummel said the property would add 40,000 square feet adjacent to the current property.
"We would certainly like to expand in Dickinson," Rummel said. "The renaissance zone (designation) would allow us to have less risk in investing in this project."
City Administrator Greg Sund said with the city approval, the proposal must now be approved by the state.
"This, like all renaissance zone requests, the state's role is to make sure it meets (the city's) plan," Sund said.