SWANTON — The Swanton Teen Center is facing a transition, but it’s far from the center’s first. The center’s managers, Chip and Mary Chiappinelli, explained that the teen center has evolved to meet the community’s needs from its beginning.
Right now, the teen center exists in the basement of the Memorial Building, on Canada Street, near Merchants Row. But by April 1, the center will relocate to the building Swanton Wayside Furniture currently occupies, making space for an ambitious redevelopment organized by Gordon and Debbie Winters. The Winters plan to redevelop the Memorial Building into an Ace Hardware, which the Winters, and Swanton officials, hope to be the first step in the village’s economic and physical revitalization, similar to the transformation in downtown St. Albans.
Chip said the teen center’s managers feel far from kicked to the curb.
The town and village currently pay for the center’s basic operating costs, including rent, save for heating costs, which the Memorial Building’s upstairs tenant has generously donated — Chip said the building has only one boiler.
The Winters have agreed to donate half the next year’s rent, $10,000, and at a multi-board meeting last week, Tyler and Norm Stanislas, local landlords, donated the second $10,000, covering the teen center’s rent costs for one year in its new location.
When the teen center opened, Chip said, “we had to do a lot of the talking at [board] meetings to get those people on board with the idea. At that meeting,” the multi-board meeting last week, “18 years later, we could have sat back and said nothing, because the entire village was saying everything we needed to say.”
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