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A new youth center at 58 Main St. in Akron that will offer diversified programs and activities has been awarded two grants totaling $6,100.

The $4,300 grant from the East Hill Foundation will be used for some of the equipment, including computer software and game tables. In addition, an $1,800 grant from County Legislator Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Clarence, will fund the sound and PA system, said Margaret Lucas of the Youth Center Advisory Board. The project, which is the outgrowth of planning by the late Peter Greatbatch, aims to "increase the number of teens actively participating in community and volunteer projects."

Services include recreation and social activities, community service projects, hobby and craft classes, as well as rooms for homework and tutoring. Also, outside speakers and workshops will be available for personal and vocational development.

"I'm very pleased," Mrs. Lucas said. "Everything is coming along really well."

Since last March, a group of volunteers have spent hours planning the project, meeting with both the town and village boards, and holding public informational meetings.

Mrs. Lucas also announced the hiring of a new director for the youth center, Estella Wilson who is from the southern New York area. She will collaborate with the Town of Newstead's recreation program as well as the Akron central schools and churches to broaden program potential and coordinate special events.

"We're really looking forward to working with her," Mrs. Lucas said.

A capital improvement campaign is still under way to raise money for other items and equipment needed at the youth center. A projected official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Nov. 7.

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