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JYS seeks room to grow

New Cornerstone facility dips into CBJ park

Posted: June 13, 2012 - 12:04am

The City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission approved the expansion of its lease with Juneau Youth Services to accommodate a new emergency housing facility.

Juneau Youth Services is an emergency residential program for at risk youth (www.jys.org). The service has operated its current facility at 9290 Hurlock Avenue since 1967. It was previously known as the Juneau Receiving Home. The current facility is scheduled for demolition after a new facility is built.

The new, expanded facility would require the lease of an additional 150-foot by 85-foot plot from the CBJ. This would be added to the existing 36,122 square foot CBJ lease for a total of 48,122 square feet. An original plan would have more than doubled the site’s current area.

The current facility is located near the corner of Mendenhall Loop Road and Hurlock Avenue and abuts Jackie Renninger Park. The park includes the Pipeline Skate Park, an RV dumps station, a parking lot and a wooded area. The lease expansion extends into the wooded area.

CBJ Parks and Recreation approves of the expansion, but requests that the development “leaves as many large old growth trees in place as possible,” according to a Parks and Recreation email to the CBJ.

The expansion fits with CBJ’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan, Crystal Hitchings, CBJ planner said in her written memorandum.

The Service spent $291,000 for renovations and repairs to the aging Cornerstone facility over the previous half-dozen years, according to a JYS legislative funding request. Additional needed renovations are expected to cost $600,000 “to keep the existing facility functioning at a minimally acceptable level.”

The facility continues to decline. Further renovation and repair is “no longer economically feasible,” according to the JYS request. The JYS Board of Directors decided to forgo continued renovations and instead pursue a replacement facility. The new facility is expected to cost $6.3 million.

Juneau Youth Services requested $2 million from the state legislature for construction of the Cornerstone shelter for 2013, according to the JYS request for funding. The legislature allocated $100,000.

The Cornerstone building currently houses an emergency shelter for short-term housing of runaway and homeless youth and youth in state or parental custody ages 10 to 19. The shelter can serve up to 14 youth.

The facility also offers two Transitional Living Apartments for up to four youth ages 16-17. The new facility is planned to continue these programs with double the capacity in its transitional apartments.

The Planning Commission adopted the request without objection and recommends Assembly approval.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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