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DETROIT-The Detroit Youth Foundation and Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick announced plans on Wednesday for YouthVille Detroit, a 71,000-sf facility designed to be the most comprehensive neighborhood youth development center in the city of Detroit.

“YouthVille Detroit is based on the belief that every youth–given access and the opportunity to be involved with positive youth development–can be successful and avoid risky behavior,” said DYF President and CEO Gerald K. Smith.

YouthVille Detroit will house a specially designed youth center for young people, ages 11-19, where they can learn new skills and develop positive peer and adult relationships in a safe neighborhood environment. A unique feature of YouthVille is that it will also be a multi-tenant center housing 10 youth and family service organizations under one roof.

YouthVille will be located in the New Center area on the southwest corner of Woodward and Lothrop just north of Grand Boulevard in Detroit in a building that housed Allied Film and Video from the mid 1980s through 2000.

“By providing support and opportunities for young people, YouthVille Detroit will provide youth a way to avoid delinquent behavior and develop leadership skills for life,” Smith said. “Thus, the facility would provide an atmosphere of support and circumvent risky behavior by focusing on youth and their environment; promoting alternative activities; addressing the needs and risk factors in children’s lives; and building social competence.”

“This project is very close to my heart because I grew up in the neighborhood,” said Kilpatrick.

The two-story structure will feature a glass façade that allows passers-by to see directly into the facility from the street. Architectural firm for the building is Hamilton Anderson Associates. Interior renovation and construction will occur this summer with occupancy planned for 2004.

Costs for the project are estimated at $12.5 million including building purchase, renovation and furnishings. Funding for the project will be sought from foundations and the private sector. YouthVille will also provide office and programming space for DYF.

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