|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 01 December 2010 00:00|
For decades, Boler’s Bar stood on Main Street as one of Camp Verde’s longest running establishments until it closed earlier this year.
The old barn-red building still stands, and resident Wendy McCants has a dream to completely re-purpose the structure.
McCants wants to turn the building into a teen center, but that’s not all. McCants also wants the building to serve as a true community center for all of Camp Verde, one that can hold events to help fund continued operation of the center.
The former teen center was only opened for a brief time in a town-owned building on First Street.
Ultimately, the town could not properly fund the center sufficiently to keep it open.
McCants tried to offer a solution through her nonprofit organization, Redeeming Life. The group offered to take over operations at the teen center, but was denied after town leadership decided owning a teen center was just too untenable.
McCants said she had plenty of experience and just wanted children to have a chance at success.
“The teen center is very important for the community,” McCants said. “Our kids grew up with nobody there, and nothing to do.
That wasn’t enough for the town to turn over it’s property after a first failed attempt, so McCants has since sought private alternatives.
This most recent effort to create a youth center hit McCants like a brick when she walked into the old Boler’s building when it was briefly opened by the owner during recent Fort Verde Days celebrations.
The building was opened up accommodate the public, and that’s when McCants was struck by a thunderbolt.
The building is perfect for what she wants to do, McCants said.
The building is large, has a lot of potential for outdoor activity, and lots of parking.
Best of all, it could accommodate the community and help keep the center running.
McCants said she’d like to see the center used comprehensively, letting young people use it as a youth center during the week with games and other diversions.
Already McCants has started storing equipment inside the building, thanks to the owner’s generosities.
The town’s old youth center still stores some currently unused equipment, and McCants hopes the town may be willing to let her center use it if her plan is successful.
As a former bar, there is already plenty of room for pool tables and video game equipment.
McCants still needs help to turn her dream into a reality. She needs electricians and other people capable of modern construction and renovations, not the least of which to help her meet the permit standards.
Meanwhile, the equipment McCants has collected continues to collect dust inside the building.
“Why should Cottonwood have all the community centers and youth programs?” McCants asked. “We need to show that there’s something here worth having. Especially for the children.”
McCants said she sees opening this center as something that would build a metaphorical lighthouse for
However, she wants the community’s input and is planning a meeting for anyone interested in the near future.
McCants reiterated she wanted the building to serve as something that would hold events all residents could benefit from, whether they are seniors looking for ballroom dancing or teens looking for tutors.
“These children have nothing to do except get into trouble,” McCants said. “I’m trying to offer an alternative.”
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