Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager
Bill Webster, Interim Director of Parks
Report on the Operations of the Street Scene Teen Center
November 20, 2006
The purpose of this memorandum is to present an overview of the Street Scene Teen Center to include history, partnership information, budget, hours of operation, programs, attendance, operational issues and main terms of the Town’s lease agreement.
In April 1984, Street Scene Inc., a private non-profit corporation, entered into a lease agreement with the Town for space in the basement of the Franklin Street Post Office for a teen center.
The space was renovated and the center opened in March 1985.
In 1994, the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department entered into an agreement with Street Scene Inc. to provide an after school program and a summer camp at the center.
Street Scene Inc. was created to be a place for teens to gather in a safe and positive atmosphere free of drugs and alcohol. The center has provided weekend, recreational and educational programs for 21 years. Street Scene attempts to appeal to different groups of teens in the community. This demographic mix of participants is currently in a transitional stage as the recent core group begins to age out of the program and the development of a new population is taking place. Street Scene Teen Center has a stated policy of zero tolerance for drugs, alcohol, or any kind of gang related behavior. The center provides adult supervision, while activities are planned by the teens themselves through the Street Scene Teen Board.
The Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department has operated a separate after school and summer program since 1994.
Street Scene Inc. Programs: Street Scene’s program offerings are completely independent of the Town. Street Scene sponsors programs on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Fridays are used for band and/or DJ nights that attract on average about 100 people per evening. On Saturday evenings the center is used as a gathering spot for youths with an average attendance of 50 people each night. Additional hours are scheduled for educational programs, drama classes, trips, and other activities. Attendance of all Street Scene programs averages about 4,800 participants per year.
Examples of Street Scene Inc. programs include:
Music Programs - DJ nights and live band nights are held on Fridays. They provide young musicians a place to perform for their peers and a place to dance. In addition, the music room provides guitars, amps, and drums for use by the teens.
Computer Lab – This program provides supervised internet access, homework research, art projects, and creative writing projects. The computer lab is currently being replenished with new equipment. Three new computers are operational.
Street Scene Inc. also provides the facility for classes offered by the Apple Chill Cloggers (Monday evenings, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) and the Cane Creek Cloggers (Tuesday evenings 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Town of Chapel Hill Programs: The Town operates two programs independently of Street Scene Inc. An after school program is held for youth ages 12 to 18 years, Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition the department sponsors a summer program that operates Monday through Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Past activities of the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department’s teen after school program included a music lab, access to computers, monthly dances, spoken word/poetry sessions, workshops and field trips, plus other activities.
Attendance at the Town’s after school and summer programs average about 3,600 participants per year. Teens served by the program come from various ethnic backgrounds.
We are currently working to: implement a registration process for the Town’s programs, organize a teen club with officers, conduct community service projects, and continue to provide a safe and drug free alternative for teens.
Maintenance Issues: No unusual problems or concerns have been reported by the Town’s Public Works Department. Most of the maintenance issues have been classified as usual and customary day-to-day maintenance.
Security Issues: The Police Department reported a total of five incidents from January 13, 2006 to September 29, 2006, none of which included drugs or weapons. Following is a summary of the incidents reported by the Police Department:
01/13/06: Fight between two people at the center (no charges filed)
02/11/06: Assault inflicting serious injury (two people were charged)
02/13/06: Vandalism (possible gang graffiti on inside and outside walls)
09/06/06: Larceny of a laptop from a backpack
09/29/06: Located a runaway juvenile from Carrboro at the center
The Chapel Hill Police Department reported that this level of reported crime is representative of a typical year at the Street Scene.
The Street Scene staff notifies the Chapel Hill Police Department prior to those Friday nights with bands or DJs. On duty officers drop by the Street Scene at random times to monitor the situation. Street Scene also maintains two to four staff members at the site during Friday night events. Police Department staff reported that this system appears to work well.
We have been on the lookout for gang activity during the Town’s program times. On February 13, 2006, staff suspected that some “tags” on the center’s “graffiti wall” might be gang signs. The Police Department was contacted and affirmed that the tags were likely gang related. The signs were removed and the graffiti wall closed down. The Chapel Hill Police Department provided a workshop for all staff about recognizing gang related activities.
On Saturday October 28, 2006, Street Scene Inc. discussed scheduling another workshop with officers of the Chapel Hill Police Department. The police have agreed to schedule another training session for all center staff and volunteers.
Budget: The Parks and Recreation Department has a total budget allotment of $15,213 for Fiscal Year 2006-2007 for the Department’s Teen programs at the Street Scene. The Parks and Recreation Department budget contains no funds for Street Scene Inc. programs.
Street Scene Inc. is self-supporting with the exception of a $2,500 grant from the Town’s Human Services Committee.
Lease Agreement: Street Scene Inc. uses approximately 2,400 square feet in three rooms of the basement of the Franklin Street Old Post Office for the operation of teen center programs. The current lease agreement with Street Scene Inc. is effective from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2007.
The duties of the Town under the lease include payment of utilities (except for the telephone and cable television) and coordination among the various tenants of the building.
The duties of the Teen Center include payment for required modifications to existing utilities; payment for telephone and cable services; restricting their members’ access into other areas of the building; maintenance of the space in a clean and orderly fashion (including janitorial services); the cost of repairs in the event of damage or vandalism; compliance with applicable statutes, ordinances, codes and regulations; provision of adequate supervision; and operation of the Teen Center in a safe and sanitary manner.
The Street Scene Inc. Teen Center serves approximately 4,800 teens per year, predominantly on Friday and Saturday nights. The Town operates a totally independent program at the site including an after school and summer program. The Town’s programs at the facility have historically served approximately 3,600 teens per year.
Although any crime at a Town-owned facility is a cause for concern, we believe that in general the incidents have not been excessive over the years, considering the number of teens that use the facility. The level of security during band and/or DJ nights appears to be adequate. We are not aware of any confirmed drug use on the site. However, we are concerned by recent indications of possible gang activity. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Police Department to proactively deal with any indications of gang activity at the center.
We are working to improve our programming at the center and to institute a registration process so that we have better information concerning our clientele.