SOMERSET, NJ - A long term dream took one more major step towards reality, as the ground was broken for the Franklin Township Community Youth Center Thursday morning.

Mayor Phil Kramer, members of the Township Council and individual’s instrumental to the project, grasped 14 magic wands, in the shape of silver shovels, and took the ceremonial first step in the construction of this long-awaited facility.

Officials say the 25,000 square foot facility will be completed and occupied by September 2020 at a cost of approximately 12 million dollars, will provide a centralized location for services and activities for the youth of Franklin Township.

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Councilwoman At-Large Kimberley Francois spoke of the evolution of youth services from the Franklin Youth Initiative in 2007 to the Teen Drop Off Center in 2011 and now after years of planning, design, property acquisition, and funding; the Township Youth Center.

Francois spoke passionately of a facility that will provide a location for township teens to learn life and job readiness skills, have recreational and learning opportunities and a safe place to meet, spend time and enjoy free services.

The two-story building will have meeting rooms, exercise facilities, audio and visual studios, open meeting space, lounges and room for community use as well as a satellite library facility. 

The project mission, brochure and core values can be found below:

Project Mission Statement

The Franklin Township Community Youth Center will evolve from the youth and the overall community, serve the needs of the youth, and empower them to achieve greatness while making Franklin Township a better place to live.

Youth Center Brochure 

Core Values

Safe – safe physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Design to allow for excellent building flow and supervision in a way that is not intrusive.
 
Pride– take care of the place and the place will take care of you. Materials that are durable but still beautiful. There will be trust that our youth will take pride in the facility and take care of it.
 
Cool – vibrant place to be to have fun and learn. The best things to do happen at the Youth Center. Spaces a flexible in size and configuration to allow for various types of activities. 

Special – the design will reflect that this is a special place that will express the special things going on inside. People will look at the building and know that they are welcome to go inside and it will be fun (even if they learn something.)
 
Respect – since the project will grow out of the community, it will be the community’s job to make sure the facility is maintained and respected which will reflect the respect earned by the youth inside.

Learning – have various spaces to learn a lot of things, large and small, that help catapult youth towards bigger dreams. 
 
Achievable – this project has taken a long time to happen. Make the right decisions so we make sure it happens now.

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