DIXON – A group working to build a youth center in Dixon now has a name, and even an event in the works.
“Project GenNex” was selected as the best name for the group, after several entries were emailed to organizer Steve Wilson, building manager at Loveland Community House & Museum.
“A man named Bud saw the article in the paper and emailed the idea, and several others,” Wilson said. “We’ll be working on projects for the next generation, so everybody liked the idea.”
The group will meet Wednesday at Loveland to discuss an upcoming “battle of the bands” event and entering a float in the Petunia Festival parade.
The organization is looking at scheduling a battle of the bands, featuring teenage bands, or bands geared toward teenage fan bases, at the Dixon YMCA sometime in July.
The event will be a good gauge of how many teenagers are interested in the concept, Wilson said.
The group also is drafting a mission statement. It says the youth center/skate park will become a safe place where teens can gather and meet.
“By creating the youth center/skatepark, it is hoped this will instill new energy and drive both in the youth involved in its planning and creation, to those youth who find it an accepting place to be,” the statement says.
Wilson was inspired by a column written by senior Trevor Mixen in the Dixini, the Dixon High School student newspaper. The headline to the article read: “Places to go and things to do – not so much.”
Ideas for the youth center have ranged from opening a hangout with a cafe to building a skate park. More ideas included movie nights, dances, a teenage band scene, incorporating art projects and using the facility for foster family visits.
State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller and Dixon YMCA CEO Andrew McFarlane are among those supporting the idea.
At GenNex’s last meeting, Eileen Piper from Amboy’s Teen Turf gave the group encouragement and insight, Wilson said.
He added: “They’ve been going for like 18 years, so this can work.”
Project GenNex will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Loveland Community House and Museum, 513 W. Second St. Call 815-284-741 for more information.
Find "Project GenNex" on Facebook for more information or to follow the group.