By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Teen Center Stays Busy
The Riverbank Teen Center offers free admission for the time being while the city council is debating a charge and the newly opened building is drawing an impressive number of young visitors.

Opened Feb. 27, the $1 million youth facility drew about 60 teens on its first Friday, according to Parks & Recreation Department staff, 25 to 30 even on the Saturday and has anywhere between 25 to 50 on a weekday after school.

Supervisory staff Juanita Algardo and Israel Hernandez noted the teens are using the facility adjacent to the Community Center even on a Saturday.

Current operating hours are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon until 5 p.m. on Saturday.

But the supervisors are restricting its use to "study, reading and doing homework" from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and only opening up the games after 4 p.m.

The center offers "a classroom" corner suitable for homework, a lounge with video games, an exercise room with weights and stationary bicycle equipment, an Internet café with computer terminals, and portable shuffleboard and pool tables placed in the open center area.

The city also aims to save utility costs at the new facility. Staff makes the best possible use of fine weather by rolling up the garage-type doors at the front and back, officials said. The café offers sodas out of a coin-operated machine, but snacks so far consist of what's donated by well wishers including a large bag of oranges brought by the police chief, said Hernandez.

To encourage studious habits, tidiness and good behavior in general, the recreation aides are handing out tickets for a raffle and a prize, most likely some sort of video or music player, he added.

A public hearing will be hosted at the Riverbank City Council meeting on Monday, March 28 on establishing a teen center membership fee. The proposal is to charge $25 a year, with a scholarship fund available for those who cannot afford the fee.