McPherson Youth Center in Beverly receives $1 million for renovations | News

BEVERLY- As part of Massachusetts’ $175 million congressionally directed spending bill passed earlier this month, The McPherson Youth Center in Beverly will receive $1 million to renovate, modernize and expand the campus space to serve the city and neighboring town’s youth.

Built more than 50 years ago, the Myles McPherson Youth Center is a collaboration with the City of Beverly and the Greater Beverly YMCA that supports the recreational and developmental needs of local youth. The building acts as a drop-in style center where youth ages 11-18 can shoot pool, use the computer lab, participate in fitness programs, skateboard at the adjacent skate park and hang out.

The center is also home to the city’s new Positive Alternative for Student Support (PASS) program where instead of being sent home for an out-of-school suspension, students from Beverly and neighboring towns go to the center where they follow a daily schedule of academics, psychoeducational therapy and recreation.

The renovation will more than double the current size of the building to 4,000 square feet. With the site being directly next to the Bass River, the building will also be raised and a new slab foundation will be constructed to counter a rising sea level.

“Kids really need this program and need this space,” Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill said. “There’s going to be an indoor and outdoor active recreation space that’s going to be big enough for kids to take three-point shots.

“There’s also going to be a gaming space, eating space, and a bunch of different areas for kids to be here and get the benefits of the center.”

Funding for the center is one of 15 community improvement projects that Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) secured more than $13.2 million for fiscal 2024 appropriations. The legislation to approve the funds was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this month.

Other projects include a sewer pipe restoration in Salem, the renovation of two buildings at Essex Tech, and a study on Confined Aquatic Disposal facilities to manage contaminated waterways in the region.

“[The selection of improvement projects] is a competitive process, as every one of the 39 cities and towns that I represent can submit applications,” Moulton said as he visited the center Monday. “But it’s great that the center is able to support [the PASS Program] and get kids some help, and in general it’s just a wonderful resource for the city and neighboring towns.”

The donation will make up a significant piece of the renovation’s nearly $7 million price tag, the remainder of which will be paid for through American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Construction is expected to begin early this Fall, and after a 12 month construction period, the center will reopen with significantly more room for amenities for local youth to enjoy.

Michael McHugh can be contacted at [email protected] or at 781-799-5202