Center, Skate Park, Playground Coming to Groveland

A new youth center, skate park, basketball court and playground are coming to Groveland’s Mary Laveroni Community Park. Groveland Community Services District, the agency that runs the park, entered into an agreement Monday allowing Tuolumne County to put a new youth center in the park starting this summer. The current Groveland Youth Center is on Ferretti Road near the Main Street Market. Mike Russell, recreation director for the county, said the new location is more visible and will have better lighting than the existing center, which was built in 1978 and was the county’s first youth center.

The new youth center, a manufactured building measuring 36 by 40 feet, is being funded by a $223,673 federal grant to the county. It will be next to a building housing the Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum and the Groveland branch of the Tuolumne County Library. The center will overlook a yet-to-be-built basketball court, which will be next to a new skate park. Once a dirt area at the eastern end of the park dries out, the ground will be leveled, gravel will be put down and then a concrete foundation for the skate park will be poured.

A Sonora Area Foundation grant paid $25,000 for the concrete foundation, while the Groveland Skate Park Committee raised $100,000 for the park’s ramps. Whatever concrete is left over from the skate park’s foundation will be used for the basketball court. Both the basketball court and skate park should be up and running by the summer, Jim Goodrich,GCSD general manager says.

Also due this year and adjacent to the youth center is a new playground with equipment donated by the San Jose Family Camp on Cherry Lake Road.

Barbara Broad — chairwoman of the Groveland Area Involved Neighbors, a community group seeking to improve life in southern Tuolumne County — said students should have a sense of pride in the new building because some of them were involved in helping plan its purpose.

Broad said GAINs met with several students at Tenaya Elementary School and Tioga High School to see what they wanted from a neighborhood youth center.

“One of the most important things to them was to have a decent place to work on their homework.” Broad said she anticipates many opportunities for young people at the center. “The significant issue here is to have a central, visible and inviting location for our young people, where we intend to foster plans for arts and craft classes, field trips, special interest groups, mentoring, and homework assistance, with volunteers from the community,” she told the GCSD board.

A lease agreement approved by GCSD directors Monday will allow the county to put the new center in the park for a charge of $1 a year for the next 20 years. After that, the county will have the option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years.