SOMERSET, NJ - Last month members of the community packed the Franklin Middle School cafeteria to learn about the forthcoming youth center. 

Kimmel Bogrette Architecture (KBA) firm located in Pennsylvania conducted a feasibility study to gather information for the youth center to share with the public and local officials. 

Attendees had the opportunity to provide real-time feedback to KBA officials Martin Kimmel and Robert Reed. Kimmel walked attendees through the five phases of "Master Concept Planning."

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Yesterday, the township announced a new landing page designed for the community to provide feedback on what type of programs should be held at the facility. 

"Help us to understand how a building might be able to be a home to some wonderful activities and opportunities that can empower Franklin Township youth to achieve great things while having fun, learning and getting any help they need," the township website says. 

During last month's meeting Bob Vornlocker, the township manager indicated many local and county organizations are also interested in housing existing programs at the facility. Vornlocker also stated the township has been speaking with many of these organizations for the past three years. 

Councilwoman At-Large Kimberly Francios (D) one of the main advocates of the project stressed how the facility will be a place for all of the children of the township to use. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 3, 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. To provide feedback on the project click here.

The mission statement and core values for the project 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.

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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