Submitted Red Boiling Springs is currently looking into locations for a community center - which would focus primarily on offering activities for area youth and senior citizens - as part of the city's economic development plan, and a project committee with approximately 10 core members will begin meeting in October.

Submitted

Red Boiling Springs is currently looking into locations for a community center - which would focus primarily on offering activities for area youth and senior citizens - as part of the city's economic development plan, and a project committee with approximately 10 core members will begin meeting in October.

Red Boiling Springs' youth may soon have a host of new activities to try out after school.

The city is currently exploring a project that would see a local community center put in place and will begin holding formal committee meetings in October to seek a location and explore grant funding options.

Vision 2020 Chairman Crystal Justice is heading up the effort, which is a part of the city's ongoing economic development plan.

"When we did the strategic plan last year, we found there wasn't a lot for the youth to do," Justice said. "(That's) something I've often discussed with residents. If you're not an athlete or an academic kid, you don't have as much."

Justice's vision for the center includes after-school and summer programs, parks and recreation programs, wellness classes for children and senior citizens and workforce readiness activities.

"We're wanting to bring in sports, art, homework assistance, tutoring and ... involvement (from community figures)," Step Back In Time Shop owner Laura Merlo, one of the committee members working on the project, said. "A lot of our kids are so electronically engaged, so we're also looking to build up those eye-to-eye, person-to-person connections."

Approximately 10 members will make up the core of the committee, with parents and other volunteers chipping in as needed.

"So far we've conducted three informal meetings and invited people to come share their ideas," Justice said. "As far as engagement from citizens, I see a lot of moms (that are interested). We also have some community members that are wanting to come up and produce programs, like Rickey Jones with Taekwondo Family Fitness and Natalie Ashker (a local yoga instructor)."

Potential locations for a center that have been discussed include two properties formerly used as a Chevy dealership and a high-school gymnasium, respectively. The committee members also hope a center will encourage families to stay in the city.

"Listening to parents who come into the shop, I often hear there's no place for kids to go in Red Boiling Springs," Merlo said. "Several parents have moved toward Lafayette or other communities where activities are more accessible."

In addition to finding community partners for programs, the group is focusing on reaching out to locals who can serve as mentors for children.

"Kids really need people they can look up to and feel comfortable talking to," Merlo said. "Senior citizens would be great as mentor-grandparents for the youth, and if someone can be here in the afternoon for the kids it can make a huge difference."