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Notes From the Underground

For the Kids:
Local youths want to build a teen center in Santa Cruz

City officials and local teens are working together and independently to create a teen center where young people could hang out, engage in art, music and other constructive activities, and stage all-ages shows. The teens, led by 17-year-old Rachel Pearl, have been meeting with movers and shakers, playing politics and scouting around on their own for a site. Pearl and her pals currently favor the old Coca-Cola building on Soquel Avenue just outside the city limits. She is hoping to convince Coke to donate the huge, long-vacant space.

The city has set aside $144,000 in federal grants over the past few years for "public facilities," and Santa Cruz Parks & Rec officials have asked the City Council to let them hire a full-time youth coordinator to spearhead the project. Parks & Rec also has poked around--so far unsuccessfully--for potential sites. "We were hoping for something within city limits and close to downtown, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't consider the Coca-Cola site," says Parks & Rec Superintendent Carol Scurich.

Parks & Rec has looked at the old Eagles' Hall on the Ocean Street Extension and the old Kinko's building on lower Front Street. Scurich says Kinko's is too expensive and the teens think it's too small. "It's a hole in the wall, without much room to expand," Pearl says.

The teens, who have been meeting with Parks & Rec every month or so, voice frustration over the slow pace of the bureaucracy. "I think if we sit around talking about how long it's gonna take, it'll take forever. I think we should just work on it," Pearl says.

"The teens have been very clear with us that they want something to happen quickly and I wish it was that simple, but it's not," says Scurich, who encourages more local teens to get involved in the planning. "But I also think it's very do-able."

To raise money, the teenagers are planning a series of benefit shows at the Civic, which the city will provide rent-free. They are planning a reggae concert for July 13, a punk show for July 19 and a hip-hop show for July 26. On Aug. 30, popular local bands Fury 66 and Slow Gherkin, plus Link 80, are slated for a teen-center benefit at the Civic. Over Labor Day weekend, the teens are planning an outdoor benefit in San Lorenzo Park with all types of music. "Everybody should come out and support this, even if they don't like the bands playing, because it's for them," Pearl says.

To get involved in the youth center project or help with benefit shows, call Dannettee Shoemaker or Carol Scurich at 429-3777 or Rachel Pearl at 476-9473.


Buddy's Riot plays at the Asti on Thursday (7:30pm). The Make-Up and the V.S.S. play with Starlite Desperation Show on Wednesday (July 3) at Three Spirits Gallery in Sand City--it should be worth the drive (call 393-ARTS). Also on Wednesday night, Filibuster plays at Palookaville.
Michael Mechanic

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From the June 27-July 3, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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