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$30,000 to go to space for Hancock youths

September 04, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HANCOCK -- A project to create youth activity spaces in Hancock's Town Hall and Community Center has been awarded $30,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, according to Kathy C. Saxman, project manager for the Washington County Community Partnership for Children & Families.

The money will be used in conjunction with a $50,000 federal grant for renovations and furnishings for two spaces in the center at 126 W. High St., Saxman said Tuesday.

One space is a classroom that will be available for club meetings and educational or "positive youth development" programs such as tobacco cessation and substance abuse prevention classes, Saxman said.

The other is a large open space with a stage, which the town has been working to renovate as a space for cultural events like dances, concerts and talent shows, she said.

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That auditorium area already has been used for some events, but needs some additional work, Town Manager David Smith said.

Renovations still to be completed include sanding and polishing the floor of the activities area, purchasing lighting and sound equipment, and replacing two heating, ventilating and air conditioning units, Saxman said. The town also needs to purchase furnishings for the two areas such as tables, chairs, dry erase boards and bulletin boards, she said.

Smith said the renovations could be completed by this winter.

The Washington County Community Partnership for Children & Families provided planning and grant writing assistance for the project after a focus group of Hancock teens and parents said the community lacked a safe place for social, recreational and educational activities for youth, Saxman said.

At this time, there is no facility in town that can be used year-round for youth activities, she said.

The Washington County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the Appalachian Regional Commission funding.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership established by Congres to support economic development in the Appalachian region.

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