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Youth Services

City Transitions After-School Program 
Low participation and increased costs present an opportunity to transition youth services from the City to other after-school opportunities  

With the recent sale and the proposed redevelopment of the Karger Recreation Center property affecting the ability to utilize the Firehouse Youth Center after June 15, 2019, coupled with the fact of decreasing attendance and increasing costs to operate the youth program, the City began exploring other opportunities to best serve our middle school youth.

In 2017, after multiple fee increases coupled with decreases in expenses, total expenditures were $145,734 and total revenues were $20,482; resulting in a net operating loss of $125,252. Additionally, the City has maintained the building’s life safety components to offer a safe facility for Youth Center participants, however, as part of a 2017 Citywide facility assessment, over $100,000 in immediate repairs and over $700,000 in building improvements were identified for the Youth Center facility.

Additionally, with an increased variety of alternate after-school opportunities available to middle school students and the increased use of cell phones to check in and monitor youth whereabouts, the Firehouse has seen a significant decrease in participation over the years.  During this past school year, average attendance for the After School Club was approximately ten participants daily, which decreased to eight participants daily in the second semester.

After a thorough and thoughtful review and discussion of the Youth Services program and specifically noting low enrollment and the overall budget impact of the program, the City has decided to discontinue the After School program and will begin transitioning participants to alternative after-school programs for the 2018 -2019 school year.

The Firehouse has been a notable fixture in this community and this decision was made after extensive consideration.  We will work closely with all of our program participant families throughout the entire transition process. For those students who enjoy participating in after school curricular activities, but would like an alternative to going home following the school day – NSSD 112 has graciously agreed to add a Late Bus stop at the Highland Park Public Library, where students can self-supervise in the Youth Services area. 

For your convenience, a list of resources and alternative options is being compiled and is available upon request by contacting Laura Frey, Manager of Senior Services at or 847.432.4110.