EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 5, 2013

Officials seek trust to fund Youth Center

By Dustin Luca

---- — ANDOVER — With the first phase of work on the Cormier Family Youth Center kicking off later this year, officials are hoping residents will use a town-handled trust fund to put a significant dent into paying for the building’s second phase.

A Special Town Meeting will be called during the Annual Town Meeting next month to put a $1.29 million spending proposal before Town Meeting voters.

The money, originating from the William M. Wood Memorial Trust, is proposed to be split in half and sent in two directions: into a stabilization fund to advance senior center services and programming, and into a Plant and Facilities account to help pay for the youth center’s $1.35 million second phase of construction, according to Council on Aging Chairman Don Robb.

Each half of the money amounts to a $649,000 appropriation. The money entering the stabilization fund for senior-related activities would not be touched going forward, but it would yield around $9,000 in interest a year to go towards currently non-existent programming, Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski said.

The proposal is the end-product of a collaboration between the Council on Aging and the Andover Youth Center Building Committee, according to Robb.

Rosalyn Wood said her family, specifically her late husband, the grandson of mill-owner William Wood, wanted the money to go towards “a senior center when we thought we were building a senior center uptown.”

“That never materialized,” she said, “but this seems like a wonderful compromise.”

The trust’s other half, going towards the youth center, will serve as “an opportunity to foster community use within the new youth center, expanding youth and senior collaborations within that building,” Robb said.

The building’s $4.2 million first phase is expected to break ground in August. It will include a number of facilities, including a gymnasium, offices, meeting spaces and more.

The second phase of construction will add a multipurpose room, a second set of restrooms and a couple extra offices. The Andover Youth Foundation, charged with raising funds for Andover Youth Services programming and lately the youth center itself, has previously said it would finance the second phase of construction through its fundraising efforts.

As part of a Special Town Meeting vote in 2011, the foundation agreed to raise $2.2 million before a $2 million appropriation from the town would go towards the project.

That agreement, between the town and Andover Youth Foundation, would likely have to be adjusted to allow for the trust fund to be used, according to Stapczynski.

“Those are the details that town counsel and I have to work with the Selectmen on, in terms of how the $649,000 would fit into the program,” Stapczynski said . “We have an agreement between the selectmen and the foundation about who’s money goes first — theirs goes first and ours goes second. So we would have to amend that to accomplish the additional $649,000.”

Annual Town Meeting is slated to begin May 6 and is expected to run all three scheduled nights, through May 8, according to Stapczynski. It will be held at the Andover High School’s field house, beginning at 7 p.m. each night.