An attractive downtown teen hangout intended to reduce gang
activity was unanimously approved by the City Council 13 years
after it was first proposed. Successive groups of teenagers – most
recently, the Teen Youth Council – have had their eye on the small
city-owned building at the southwest corner of Chapala and Victoria
streets, which has been alternately empty and home to the Unity
Shoppe thrift store. Plans for the center were gradually moving
forward, but had been scaled back from visions of a fruit smoothie
bar to a utilitarian snack counter. Under pressure from an
11th-hour push by the Youth Council and former councilmember
Babatunde Folayemi, city staff found extra funds in the
Redevelopment Agency budget and from money leftover from
refurbishing the nearby Louise Lowry Davis Center. The Contractors’
Association offered to revamp the building free of cost.


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