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Immokalee to open youth center

IMMOKALEE — With renovations nearly complete on a new youth center in Immokalee, the community can look forward to a state-of-the-art facility to entertain children with a wide variety of activities.

Renovations to the new facility – the old Housing building – began in late August and include eliminating five office areas and a conference room and knocking down walls for a game room. The Tribe contracted Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. for the project, which also consists of adding a new theater room and enclosed patio.

Once completed, the youth center will contain two pool tables, as well as foosball tables; bumper pool, air hockey and ping-pong tables; board games and crafts; video game consoles; and a large-screen TV.

At press time, workers began moving in the equipment for an anticipated completion date of early October.

“Hopefully, it’s a nice big hub for the kids,” said Immokalee Recreation site manager Christine Washburn, who began working for the Tribe in May and has more than 25 years in Recreation. “We’re hoping to make it a great place for the kids to go to give them better options than what’s out there.”

Washburn said Immokalee Liaison Kenny Joe Davis and Council Office project manager Ralph Sanchez were instrumental figures in getting the ball rolling on the new youth center.

With the Immokalee gym nearby, Washburn said they hope kids will have many positive activities to keep them busy and out of trouble. She said they plan to host tournaments, movie nights and dances at the new facility as well. In addition, the contractors will install cabinets, an oven, refrigerator and ice machine for a kitchen where the Recreation Department will host cooking culture classes.

“Our staff is looking forward to new and exciting programs,” she said. “This is all very exciting, and we’re looking forward to the grand opening.”


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