The Town of Massena is thought of by many as a town with an aging population. But, 24 percent of Massena's residents are under the age of 18, on par with the national average. Our Barry Wygel takes a look at what's being done to give Massena teens an alternative to crime, and instead a safe and supervised after-school activity.
MASSENA, N.Y. -- Over the last decade, Massena has been forced to deal with a rising number of teenage crimes.
"The increasing crime rate that we've been dealing with the last 16 years has significantly impacted our community," said Timmy Currier, Massena police chief.
That's why Currier and members of the Massena Neighborhood Watch are calling for the building of a Boys and Girls Club.
"The benefits to the community should be obvious in that they are supervised activities for young people. They are not high cost activities," said David Ross, regional services director for Boys and Girls Club of America.
But it is a lengthy process. One that could take anywhere from months to years.
"We're in the preliminary stages right now. We're collecting all the data to support all the things we're going to do to raise money, reaching out to foundations and to be writing grants, so we can clearly demonstrate that we have a need in this community," said Currier.
While the Boys and Girls Club does offer some help in the early stages, what is really going to determine whether this project is a success is if the community rallies behind it.
"We need lots of help. We need a Board of Directors, we need people who are willing their time, talent and their treasure to help us make Massena a better community than it is now," said Currier.
"It's a pretty active group of people. I think they are very committed," said Ross
Currier says the planning committee has begun looking at potential sites to build the facility, but wanted to stress that these are only preliminary steps.
"We really are not trying to put the cart in front of the horse here. We are looking to go step-by-step to make sure we demonstrate our need," said Currier.
Currier says he doesn't expect much or any opposition to the plan, saying the only difficulties will be raising money for the project.
If you are interested in helping, the Massena Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee meets the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall.