“We envision this place being a dynamic part of the neighborhood,” said Matt Sweeney of Youth71Five Ministries, kids will be able to walk here, ride their bicycles here.”
Sweeney said the idea started back in 2016.
“I was literally driving down 8th street one day knowing they were building the new fire station 2,” Sweeney said, “and I just felt a nudge in my heart that I needed to ask for this.”
The building has been vacant since operations were moved to a new fire station on Stewart back in 2017.
Now Medford city councilors will vote on a lease-agreement with Youth71Five Ministries, formally Youth for Christ, to turn the 8th Street location into a neighborhood center.
It’s something Medford Police Lieutenant Mike Budreau says could be a great resource for kids who live in the area.
“We see more crime here than we see in other locations,” Budreau said, “anything like a neighborhood center, something for kids to go to to keep them out of trouble, is always going to be a good thing.”
The center would offer activities with other non-profits like Familia Unida Car and Bike Club, Spartan Boxing and LifeArt.
“This is what we are all about,” Sweeney said, “is connecting with kids, connecting with families, giving the support and the guidance that they need and partnering with members of the community to that.”
Youth71Five received over $24,000 in grant money to address immediate building and safety concerns.
Once the lease-agreement is approved, the ministry will then begin fundraising to be able to start renovating and remodeling.