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Future of Anderson youth center in jeopardy

Posted at 11:17 PM, Mar 29, 2019

ANDERSON — A fight over a field house in Anderson is heating up. The field house houses a youth center that could soon be closing down.

The field house where kids go to play basketball or get help with school, as part of a youth center, has been open for a few months. It was all established by the former township trustee, and there's growing concern that the recently elected trustee might shut it down.

"We started at the salvation army – we rented their facility for maybe three months until we outgrew it," Larry McClendon, Director of Anderson Township Trustee Youth Center, said.

The Anderson Township Trustee Youth Center has been a labor of love and hard work.

"We started off, I think, the first day with 20 kids. Before we left it was over a hundred kids," McClendon said.

The youth center moved into its current location on West 29th Street and Madison Avenue a couple of years ago. McClendon helped develop the youth center with its founder John Bostic.

"We have a membership now, close to a thousand kids, and we get roughly 200 to 150 kids a day," McClendon said. "We have kids in our facility that started with us three or four years ago ."

Kids like 11-year-old Wesley Barber. "I love it here because when I was at school, I wasn't doing very well but when I came here they got me to start acting good," Barber said.

Bostic is the former Township Trustee who was defeated by Mike Shivley in November. Since then, its become unclear what Shivley will do with the youth center.

A notice of eviction was issued to Bostic in February.

"Having the known versus the unknown for me that's why I support John again," Thomas Broderick, the Anderson Mayor, said.

Mayor Broderick says youth programming must take place in the building the youth center currently operates and he recognizes it's up to Shively to determine what that programming will be.

"I do think both these gentleman are trying to work to come to a resolution that will meet the needs of the community," Mayor Broderick said.

RTV6 was not able to reach Shively for comment on the story. Shively did not attend a meeting Friday night the board of trustees advisory group had. The assembly passed four resolutions - one to limit the trustee's legal budget to $250, another that extends Bostic's eviction 60 days, and another decision to require board approval for leasing another group to run programming at the field house.

The folks running the youth center say they proposed a new lease but have so far been denied. They were told the field house might close on Monday for floor repairs under the direction of the new trustee.

Community members are planning to protest on Monday to voice their concerns that the youth center could be closed.