49 Lake Teen Center to Close December 2013
The Park District of Oak Park’s Board of Commissioners recently decided to close the 49 Lake Teen Center, located in the lower level of Stevenson Center, at the end of 2013 due to declining memberships. In recent years the number of Teen Center members has been declining. When asked about the reduction in visits, teens cited a lack of transportation, lack of friends who go to the teen center, and out-of-school calendars filled with extracurricular and weekend activities. Park District staff has tried multiple marketing strategies to bring in more teens to the center including flyers at the high school and middle schools, cross promotion with other programs, scheduling the majority of teen programs and events at the teen center, and giving away free memberships at events to introduce teens to the space. In spite of these efforts, memberships have not increased and the Park Board has decided the 49 Lake Teen Center will close on December 28, 2013. The cost of running the facility did not play a role in the decision to close the center. The funds that would have been used for staffing the facility are being redirected to programs. This will allow us to reduce the cost of some programs and subsidize other programs to make them affordable for our participants.
Feedback from teens is incredibly important for future teen programs and events. This winter the Park District will begin holding advisory committee meetings for teens who are interested in providing feedback and assisting in planning their own spring and summer events. Teens who are interested in participating should contact me directly at Melissa.Rimdzius@pdop.org for information regarding the meeting dates and locations.
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