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New youth center to be built in Cimarron Park
FamilyMeans will have a brand new building to house its after-school and summer youth programs at its Lake Elmo location next year.
On Tuesday, April 1, the Lake Elmo City Council approved an amendment to the conditional use permit for the Cimarron Manufactured Home Park, allowing for the construction of a new youth center.
Mayor Mike Pearson praised the work FamilyMeans does in the Cimarron neighborhood and added that Lake Elmo is fortunate to have the agency in the community.
Council member Justin Bloyer shared the mayor’s sentiment.
“This is an organization that is working as hard as they can to better our kids lives down there.”
Stillwater-based FamilyMeans offers several programs for individuals and families in need, such as family counseling, mental health services, youth programs, and financial planning and bankruptcy services.
Since 2008, the nonprofit organization has provided free after-school and summer programs in the Cimarron community for youth ages 6 to 18.
FamilyMeans currently offers its youth programming in a 1,000 square-foot space in the basement of the Cimarron Park Golf Course clubhouse -- located just south of 10th Street North and east of Lake Elmo Avenue N. The programs are geared for school-age kids.
FamilyMeans programs at Cimarron are year-round, providing kids with homework help and a variety of arts, sports and learning activities, as well as field trips and community service projects.
Tom Yuska, FamilyMeans director of youth programs, said 125 kids participated in after-school and summer programs in the cramped basement space last year. He said FamilyMeans would like to reach out to more of the 250 school-age kids living in the Cimarron community, but it simply does not have the space needed to do so.
The new 4,000 square-foot youth center will be built in the southeast corner of the parking lot that serves the golf clubhouse and Cimarron Park office.
At the April 1 meeting, community development director Kyle Klatt said city staff had studied how parking would be affected and determined that it would not be an issue, because the parking lot is oversized.
FamilyMeans recently entered into a 30-year lease agreement with Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., the owners of Cimarron Park. The new agreement allows FamilyMeans to lease the area needed for the construction of the youth center, as well as access to common areas surrounding the building.
According to a staff report, kids participating in youth programming at Cimarron currently have the opportunity to explore art, science, music, sports, cooking and computer-skill building.
After construction of the new facility, summer programming will be expanded to offer a soccer club, bike program and an entrepreneurial garden project.
Yuska said FamilyMeans is in the midst of the fundraising process for the new facility, which it hopes to wrap up this summer.
Larson Architects of Stillwater was hired to do the design work for the youth center. The firm has worked with FamilyMeans on several other projects in the past, including the design of the non-profit’s headquarters in Stillwater.
Architect Brian Larson said the youth center would be a single-story, wood-framed building. There will also be an adjacent 500-square-foot building that FamilyMeans will use as a bike shop.
Larson said the goal is to start construction of the building in September and have it completed next spring.
Joshua Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7822.