Cambridge discusses youth activities for former Ace Tack building

The former Ace Tack building located in downtown Cambridge could possibly be the new, temporary home of the Cambridge Teen Center and Young Life.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting June 5, City Administrator Lynda Woulfe explained the city will be closing on the former Ace Tack building by July 1. The building, located at the corner of Highway 95 and Main Street, eventually will be torn down as part of the Highway 95 widening project, but that won’t happen for at least a few years. Woulfe said since the highway project was not appropriated this past legislative session, the city is applying for funds through other types of programs.

“We need to be careful of what we put in there because we don’t want to have to pay relocation costs because we are forcing them to move when the building is torn down for the Highway 95 project,” Woulfe said. “But the Cambridge Teen Center and Young Life could occupy the building until the Highway 95 project.”

Following discussion, the council, by consensus, directed city staff to move forward with the prospect of having the Cambridge Teen Center and Young Life move into the building and gather more information. No formal action was taken by the council on this concept at the meeting.

Gary Hawkins, on behalf of the Cambridge Teen Center, explained in a memo to the city that the Teen Center has closed its doors for the summer at Cambridge City Center Mall and now has to find a new location due to a new tenant leasing the space.

Hawkins wrote he feels the Ace Tack building would provide a large enough space to allow for pingpong tables, comfortable seating for socializing, a quiet study area and even space for art, music and other creative activities.

Greg Carlson, on behalf of Young Life, explained in the memo that Young Life is also looking for a new home after moving from its rented clubhouse in the lower level of Cornerstone Commons. Carlson explained Young Life is considering future opportunities that would be more convenient and accessible for youth to participate, and the Ace Tack site would be an ideal location to partner with the Teen Center to provide a safe and supportive environment for healthy youth activity.

Hawkins and Carlson explained as part of this possible agreement, the Teen Center and Young Life would “adopt the block” surrounding their new building and making sure the site is free of litter, attractive to travelers through town and would host activities and learning experiences that help teens become solid citizens.

Woulfe said brief discussions have also taken place with Cambridge Center for the Arts for possible artwork to be displayed in the windows and in front of the building to make it more appealing and attractive for downtown visitors. Woulfe said the city wouldn’t inherit any expenses associated with cleaning up the building or making it usable.

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer said the city should be in touch with other downtown business owners in close proximity to the building to discuss any sort of parking issues or other concerns.

As far as a monetary cost for the use of the building, both Palmer and Council Member Jim Godfrey said perhaps a small fee could be paid to the city by the organizations for use of the building. City staff was directed to look into utility costs on the building, and it was suggested by the council that perhaps the Teen Center and Young Life could contribute to those costs.

Cambridge Primary, Intermediate drop off locations
Public Works-Utilities Director Todd Schwab explained representatives from Cambridge-Isanti Schools would like to propose a change in school bus drop-off and pick-up locations at the Cambridge Primary School, 310 North Elm St., and Cambridge Intermediate School, 428 Second Ave. NW.

Presently the school bus pick-up and drop off is all done from BlueJacket Drive, which is located west of the Primary School.

The proposed change would include locating seven of the 13 existing buses on the east side of North Cypress from Second Avenue Northwest to just north of Third Avenue Northwest.

Schwab explained North Cypress was widened as part of the 2015 street project, so the street would accommodate the bus parking. The sidewalk adjacent to the proposed location on North Cypress was also installed from the curb to the building to accommodate pick-up and drop-offs.

Following discussion, the council approved a motion declaring the east side of North Cypress as “school bus parking only” from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and indicated the school district would be responsible for the costs associated with changing the street signage. The motion also stated the agreement is for a one-year trial period beginning with the 2017-2018 school year and an update must be presented to the council at the end of the school year.

Cambridge Intermediate School Principal Scott Peterson said the proposed change is to help improve traffic flow in the area and make it a little more convenient for the students who ride the buses in the mornings and afternoons.