Outback to revert to town in August
Published 9:58 am, Wednesday, July 8, 2015
After being unable to find additional funding or an endowment to keep their doors open, the board of the New Canaan Outback Teen Center will turn the building over to the town.
The center held events through the end of this past school year, while the non-profit trimmed drop-in hours and staff after the town declined this budget season to make up an $80,000 shortfall in the center’s operations.
“On July 31, the Board of Directors of the New Canaan Teen Center will turn over the teen center building to the town,” the group’s board said in a statement. “Since the teen center is not financially viable without any town support, the board feels it has no choice in this decision.”
The teen center building, which is owned by a non-profit on town-owned land, was built in 2001 for $1.5 million, with the group leasing the town land on which the building stands.
“The board is hopeful that the town will continue to maintain the facility adequately and that the future purpose for the building includes recreational opportunities for the teens of New Canaan,” the board statement continued.
The Outback began studying how to fund its operations two years ago, and this budget season proposed a partnership with the town The Outback board has been reviewing funding options to remain sustainable for the past two years, and in 2013 conducted a study that recommended a partnership with the town to become more financially sustainable.
During the most recent budget season, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and other town leaders withheld a $19,000 disbursement in town funding amid a debate about the relative need for the teen center’s services in the scheme of other agencies providing youth programs and services.
At a meeting last month to discuss options to avoid a shutdown, Board Director Sangeeta Appel and a group of concerned residents discussed how to bring in $10,000 the center would need to stay open this summer and fund the center going forward.
Attempts to reach Appel for comment were unsuccessful.
On Tuesday, Mallozzi said he and other town officials are keeping options open with the center’s board about any proposals to re-establish services at the center in the future.
“We are speaking to a new group about what could happen at the center and we’re all ears,” Mallozzi said.