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Youth center envisioned for Warrensburg

Discussing ideas Nov. 19 for a new community-based youth center in Warrensburg — in front of a church building on Smith St. eyed as a site for the venue —  are (left to right): pastors Ron Allen, Nancy Barrow and Stephen Andrews.

Discussing ideas Nov. 19 for a new community-based youth center in Warrensburg — in front of a church building on Smith St. eyed as a site for the venue — are (left to right): pastors Ron Allen, Nancy Barrow and Stephen Andrews. Photo by Thom Randall.

— For well over 30 years, a youth center in town has been a dream of the community. Every decade or so, when a town planning survey was taken, establishing a youth center was named as a top priority, but it was never accomplished.

Now, it seems like the concept might become a reality, if the plans of several local ministers materialize.

Three local pastors met recently with town supervisor Kevin Geraghty, proposing that a youth center be established in a church building on Smith St. that’s seen little use for many years.

Spearheading the plan are Nancy Barrow, minister of the Free Methodist church; Ron Allen, leader of the local Pentecostal Holiness Association chapter; and Stephen Andrews, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Warrensburg.

Andrews said this week that for years, he’s observed the need of more organized activities for youth.

“When I first came to Warrensburg, I felt there should be a youth center — a place for kids to hang out and build friendships,” he said Nov. 18.

After talking with the other two pastors — members of the Warrensburg Ministerial Association — the idea began taking shape. The Pentecostal group owns a church building on Smith St. in the southwest area of town. The structure has rarely hosted services.

Andrews said that Allen has proposed that the church be converted into a youth center, which could host adult-monitored recreational and social activities.

He said that a number of retired and current teachers have already volunteered to conduct after-school study sessions at the center.

Andrews added that the center would fill a substantial void that now exists in town, outside of school life.

“Now, there are no recreation venues here for youth, no movie theaters, no bowling lanes,” he said. “Also, families nowadays are not as involved in their children’s lives, as both parents have to work to make ends meet.”

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