The Northeast Youth Center is seeking $800,000 in taxexempt revenue bonds to help it buy and renovate a building at 3004 E. Queen that formerly housed a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, in Hillyard.
Kimbre Vega, director of the center, says the nonprofit also is seeking grants to pay for the remainder of the proposed $1.1 million project, and that it hopes to build a gymnasium later on a parking lot adjacent to the 15,240-square-foot building, which would cost another $500,000.
The initial project would include remodeling the onetime VFW building inside and out, including refurbishing the floors to allow for athletic activities; remodeling space for classrooms and arts-and-crafts areas; replacing the exterior faade; and landscaping the property and its 67-space parking lot north of the building across Queen Street. In the separate gymnasium project, the center hopes to buy a parking lot directly south of the building that is part of a shuttered U.S. Bank branch.
Vega says the 37-year-old nonprofit always has leased space, and is looking to find a permanent home for the before- and after-school care and programs it provides for more than 250 children each week from nine northeast Spokane elementary schools.
"We have a great program and a big following. Why keep renting space for all these years?" Vega says.
Vega says the center currently is leasing an 8,000-square-foot space at 2121 E. Wabash for the program, and frequently has to rent space elsewhere for special events and fundraisers. It also is launching a Kids Caf that will help provide meals for low-income children during school vacations, she says.
The Washington state Housing Finance Commission planned to hold a hearing on the bond request on Thursday, Dec. 18.
The former VFW building is located at the western edge of a two-block-long section of Queen where a $208,000 community block development grant recently was awarded for a streetscape improvement project. That work will be done in 2009.
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