The City of La Verne has continued to diligently plan for the community’s proposed Teen Center. The City is in the process of modifying the Teen Center design in response to the community’s desire to preserve the Redwood trees in Las Flores Park. To accommodate this, the Teen Center will be shifted further away from the Evelyn Hollinger Memorial Redwood Grove, enabling the preservation of the existing trees and reducing the size of the Center’s proposed parking lot and barbeque area.
“I appreciate staff’s work on modifying the design in order to preserve the Redwood grove without sacrificing the amenities that the Center will provide,” said La Verne City Manager Bob Russi. “The community’s input on this project will help the City create a community-oriented space that will serve many segments of our community.”
Previously, La Verne residents were able to provide input through the City’s strategic planning workshop in 2016, the two public meetings at Heritage Park, three City Council meetings, a Development Review Committee meeting in October 2020, and the City’s virtual workshop in December 2020.
Based on U.S. Census Data estimates, around 30% of the La Verne community would directly benefit from the City’s proposed Teen Center, with the other 60% of the community seeing indirect benefits such as decreased crime and juvenile delinquency including decreased participation in risky behaviors such as smoking and drug abuse.
After several surveys conducted at nearly all of the City’s high schools and middle schools, the City plans to provide programming that will include sports and chess tournaments, opportunities for creative expression such as painting, dance and photography as well as organized physical fitness classes. The Teen Center will also provide recreation activities like ping pong and pool tables.
“Many neighboring cities in the San Gabriel Valley provide similar spaces and opportunities for their local youth,” said La Verne Recreation Coordinator Chad Peterson. “So, we are excited to provide La Verne’s youth with a similar dedicated space to socialize with each other, for years to come, especially as we look for ways to help our youth reengage following the pandemic.”
Although many teens were spared many of the physical impacts from COVID-19, those aged 10 to 22 experienced deteriorating mental health including major depression, generalized anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, suicidal ideations and overdoses throughout the pandemic. The psychological impact of school closures, stay-at-home orders and enforced social distancing cut many youths off from their support networks and from mental health resources. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Health, youths rely on peer-to-peer engagement and relationships as a key source of emotional support. The proposed Teen Center not only dedicates a space for young La Verne residents to connect with one another but can also provide a form of mental health resources to help promote their balanced mental and physical health.
The City is pursuing several grant opportunities to assist with costs associated with the Center’s construction and programming. Depending on the timing of this potential funding, construction could begin in the next 12 to 18 months. For questions, please contact the City’s Community Services Department at (909) 596-8700 Monday through Thursday.