EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 8, 2013

Youth Center wins funding

ANDOVER — Town Meeting voters last night OK’d spending $700,000 of a town-controlled trust fund to complete the funding for a new youth center, but not before questions were raised about how the vote affected a prior town agreement.

Voters agreed to break up a $1.4 million trust fund — assigning $700,000 to the second phase of construction for the Cormier Family Youth Center and directing the remaining $700,000 to create a stabilization fund for senior programming.

The votes came during a Special Town Meeting scheduled within the second night of Andover’s annual Town Meeting. The annual Town Meeting resumes tonight at 7 in the field house at Andover High School, with 23 articles still up for discussion.

Many who spoke on the youth center and senior articles praised both groups for uniting around their cause.

“As a member of the Andover Youth Foundation and a senior myself, I’m proud of the collaboration the youth had with bringing this together,” David Drive resident Michael Miller said. “We’ve always sought to work with seniors, to try to make a community center.”

Sam Kefferstan, 18, of Haverhill Street, spoke in support of both articles as well.

“I’ve grown up here and lived here for my entire life,” he said. “My family, and so many others, have donated, and this is exactly what we need to push it over the edge and get shovels into the ground.”

After voters almost unanimously supported the senior programming stabilization fund, questions arose regarding the town’s agreement with the Andover Youth Foundation and how allotting the additional $700,000 for the youth center would alter that plan.

Finance Committee member Jeannie Moffitt, who opposed the youth center article, said the town had already voted to spend $2 million on the project.

“In light of the agreement, the town having agreed to donate $2 million to this project, this was above and beyond the agreement,” she said.

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