The Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center (PYEC) is the proud owner of the property at 115 South Third Avenue, directly east of the Fire Station. All the pieces came together in the past two months. David and Karina Budd, the former owners of the property, agreed to sell it to PYEC and John Kendall, a generous patron of several nonprofits in Patagonia, who donated the funds to PYEC to cover the purchase price. The Board of PYEC successfully raised additional funds from the local community to cover deferred maintenance as well as several upgrades in the house. The Town Council, at its January 10 meeting, approved the use permit to allow PYEC to operate on the site. The sale closed on January 31, 2018.
John Kendall is the grandson of John Cady, an early business leader in Patagonia. Kendall has also made significant gifts to the Patagonia Library, the Opera House, and the Montessori School. “I inherited my grandfather’s dreams and am as interested in Patagonia as he was.” Kendall said, when asked why he has been so generous to Patagonia. “When I met Anna Coleman and saw how dedicated she was to Patagonia’s teenagers and how positive an impact the Center was having on the kids, I knew I wanted to help,” he added. “I started small with the purchase of a robotics learning program and then a projector. Once we found the right property, and I believe this one is the right one, I committed to the purchase.”
The Council Chambers were packed for the hearing to review PYEC’s request for a use permit to operate the youth center. The sale of the house was contingent on the use permit. There were approximately 40 people in attendance including more than 20 youth, some bringing their parents or grandparents. Carlos Chap, Jose Santos, and Felipe Yourgules,
regulars at the Youth Center, each spoke eloquently about how important it is to them. Carlos’s grandmother described how valuable the Youth Center is for her family and for the community.
Several people had questions or concerns including: Won’t it be noisy especially outside the house? Would the youth be supervised? How late would the Youth Center operate? Will there be a lot of kids loitering in the neighborhood? Gini Thatcher Hengen, a neighbor of the Youth Center at its present location, reported no problems related to kids in the
neighborhood or at the Center itself. “They are great neighbors,” she said. Anna Coleman, PYEC Director presented the PYEC Plan and confirmed that the Center is open 4-8p.m., Mon-Sat, it is never open without a supervising adult, and there have been zero noise or loitering complaints made in its four years of operation. Bob Brandt commented that the Youth Center represents one place where all segments of the community are united to support Patagonia’s youth.
Don Wenig suggested that the Council honor John Kendall for his many contributions to the Town of Patagonia and its residents. The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended approval of the PYEC use permit and the Town Council passed it unanimously. The crowd roared!
PYEC has been looking for a larger space to operate its programs for more than a year. Their new home is much bigger, approximately 2100 sq. ft., and will allow space for a quiet room for homework, a separate place for high schoolers, a project room, a game room, a large common space, three bathrooms, and a commercial kitchen to allow both cooking and teaching of culinary arts. “It’s a dream come true for the kids and for Steve and me,” Coleman said. “When we started four years ago, I believed in giving our youth hope and opportunities for their future, tools to become responsible leaders, and space to learn together. The new center will make it possible to do so much more. I am humbled and
blessed to share my afternoons and evenings with these young people.”
Next steps are to complete necessary repairs and maintenance , install a commercial kitchen, and paint. Board Chair Judy Clegg said the PYEC 2018 budget includes funding for the necessary property improvements as well as a salary for the Director. Fundraising continues and is bolstered by PYEC’s recent designation as a state tax credit eligible organization. The Youth Center is expected to move to its new home April 1.