A first of its kind community center for teens and young adults in New Haven is nearing completion.
"Once the electrical is done," City of New Haven Director of Youth Services Jason Bartlett said. "Everything else is pretty much set to go."
The city has signed a long term lease with the Bethel AME Church at the intersection of Goffe and Orchard Streets.
“He came up with this idea about having a teen center,” church pastor Steven Cousin said, “and I said well if you have the concept, I have the space.”
About half of the renovations to the church facility being transformed into the youth center have been done by formerly disengaged teens enrolled in vocational training programs through the city’s Department of Youth Services.
A multipurpose room features a DJ booth and a dance floor.
"This is going to be the drop-in center," Cousin said, showing NBC Connecticut the room next door that will be a safe space where teens can hang out after school. "We’re looking at having an XBox 1, a PS4, pool table, ping pong table."
In addition to city funding and private fundraising, Pastor Cousin said his church is making monetary donations to help pay for the amenities and he won’t put a limit on how much.
"This is a project I firmly believe in and I want to make sure that we put the resources behind it to make sure this vision becomes a reality," he said.