Mayor Daniel Biss (left) and Council Member Bobby Burns, 5th Ward, cut the ribbon to open the new teen center at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St., on Tuesday. Next to them is Audrey Thompson, Director of Parks and Recreation, with teens on the center advisory committee looking on.
The facility will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. every weekday. It will offer food (hot wings, French fries, pizza, etc.), a gaming center (“No Grand Theft Auto,” said Thompson), and large-screen TVs. Everything is free. The goal is to give Evanston teenagers, ages 13 through 18, a safe place after work or school.
“We’ve got to figure out ways to keep our young people occupied,” said Thompson. To attract them, the park district relied on teenagers. “We asked them. What do you want? Last year, we had ham and turkey sandwiches — and a lot left over.”
The staff will include counselors and the center will provide activities such as cooking classes and talks on such subjects as credit cards and student loans. Said Biss at the ribbon-cutting: “This is an important institution.” (Photo by Richard Cahan)