Hobart police to host after-school program starting Tuesday
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent April 5, 2013 11:58AM
Updated: May 7, 2013 6:05AM
HOBART — The city’s youth in grades six through 12 will have a safe place to hang out, play sports and perhaps do some homework two days a week beginning April 9 through a new, free Community Athletic Program hosted by the Hobart Police Department.
The City Council on Wednesday paved the way for the program by changing the rules for renting the police/court/community complex at 705 E. Fourth St., where the program will take place, to allow rentals in two-hour increments.
Before, certain areas of the complex could only be rented by the half- or full-day. The city also agreed not to charge a rental fee for the program.
The program was proposed by new Police Chief Rick Zormier, who said it will begin with open gym days from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays in April and May.
Zormier and his wife donated $500 of their own money to get the project started. He said donations from the community would be accepted at the police department and will be 100 percent used for activities and equipment.
“I feel we can do this with donations, not tax money,” Zormier said. “I want to give kids a safe, secure, supervised place to congregate.”
He said a standing committee within the police department will work on a code of conduct and officers are willing to chaperone the kids.
Depending on public interest, support and utilization, the program could be expanded in the future, he said.
He said the main gym will primarily be used for basketball at first, with the rear gym used for a variety of sports and Brickie Bowl possibly for soccer, once the city takes over ownership from the School City of Hobart. The lobby area will have tables set up for students to socialize or do homework.
While providing a safe place to hang out and for kids to do activities is the primary goal of the program, Zormier said a secondary purpose is to have an avenue for positive interaction between police and other city employees and the community.
Longer said the maintenance crew is on board with the program and the police department has offered to make sure the building is secure.
“I’d encourage adults to come, too. This would give them a place to go, and we are pushing for the city to be a wellness city,” Mayor Brian Snedecor said.
Longer said the city also will lower the deposit charge for renting the facility. She said while no one balked at the $250 deposit it has been charging, she feels it is too high. It is suggested the deposit be lowered to $100.