OSWEGO — Mayor Billy Barlow and Oswego YMCA Director Kerrie Webb have announced the opening of the Oswego YMCA Youth Center and Skate Park on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The grand opening will be celebrated with an open house from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., with the official ribbon cutting taking place at noon. The open house will be emceed by international recording artist Adrian Patrick from the rock group OTHERWISE and will allow for socially distanced tours, kids activities and live music from Gary Carpentier, Bryan Syrell and Cam Caruso.
The Oswego Youth Center, fully funded by the city of Oswego and operated by the Oswego YMCA, is a free youth center and skate park open Monday through Friday 3-7 p.m. for children ages 8-19 years old. The center allows for youth programming opportunities and provides community youth a free, safe and healthy indoor space to promote socialization, independence and responsibility.
In 2019, Mayor Barlow, Oswego YMCA Executive Director Kerrie Webb, and Youth Bureau Director Brian Chetney decided to re-locate and upgrade the youth center, from the Ponzi Recreation center at Fort Ontario, to the new and improved space at the Grace Evangelical Church at 201 E. Sixth St. In addition to a skate park, the youth center has a study room with computers, an art room, game room, media room and a full kitchen. Programming activities include cooking, tutoring, arts and crafts and more, free of charge.
“Our new Oswego Youth Center and skatepark provides a free and accessible space for Oswego youth to have access to key resources, presents fun activities and programming opportunities, and offers a safe, secure and supervised place for kids to go to skateboard, study, relax and socialize,” said Mayor Barlow. “The city of Oswego is proud to partner with Kerrie Webb and the Oswego YMCA to offer such a great space in our community and moving forward, we’ll continue to invest and protect our children by giving them the resources and security they need. The new Oswego Youth Center will play a positive role in many children’s lives in our community for many years to come,” Barlow said.
Kerrie Webb, Exectuive Director of the Oswego YMCA said, “The Youth Center and Skate Park are great examples of how collaboration and partnerships between our city, and nonprofits can bring about impactful change. We are grateful for the leadership and forward thinking that Mayor Barlow and the Oswego City Council have brought together for our community. I am extremely proud of the time and efforts that both Colton Dryden our Youth Center Director and Carley Cliff our Education/Family Director have put into this project. With a strong focus on our youth and development of programming to help offer exposure to new experiences, I am sure that many children will be impacted in a positive way,” Webb said.
Brian Chetney, Director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau said, “The Youth Bureau has been a proud partner with the Oswego YMCA for over two decades. The Youth Center and Skatepark provide not only safe and structured activities, but also educational and fitness programing for our youth. I am pleased with the development of the new building and thankful for the support of Mayor Barlow and the city of Oswego have provided. I look forward to program growth and youth development opportunities housing both programs under the same roof.”
In addition to $110,000 in funding from the city of Oswego, the Youth Center re-location and construction received in-kind assistance from many local organizations including North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters Local -277, Universal Metal Works and several other community members.