A teen center in Soldotna has been in the planning for a long time. Sen. Peter Micciche started talking about it when he was first elected to the Soldotna City Council and through his two terms as city mayor before he was elected to the state senate. So it was fitting that the Micciche family was on hand for the opening of the new center on the day before Christmas. Giving recognition to those involved Micciche told the Dispatch, “The dream of a Teen Center in Soldotna coming to fruition is one that came true due to the efforts of many through the years. Tonight, I’d like to quickly thank a few of them. First, is a big thanks to the hundreds of teens that have participated in designing the facility since the beginning. Also, this project simply would not have happened without the hard work and support of Dan and Kathy Gensel who were active in the entire process and working by my side for the last month to get the center opened. Also, my incredible wife and kids should be recognized for helping, but also for putting up with the hundreds of hours I’ve been gone working toward this goal since 2008. I’d like to thank Brenda Hartman for her dedication to the cause while serving on the Soldotna City Council as well. New council members Meggean Bos and Keith Baxter for recent help and the Boys and Girls Club and board for operating the facility. The list of people, organizations and companies that have contributed financially is a long one that I’m still assembling, but off the top of my head, I’d like the thank the following primary contributors: Credit Union 1, State of Alaska, Rasmussen Foundation, Soldotna Elks, ACS, 4-D Interiors, Tyler Distributing, Sadler’s, ConocoPhillips, BP, Speaker Mike Chenault and Rep. Olson, the City of Soldotna and many others that we’ll share with the community when the list is complete.”

The soft opening was open to the public to view the new facility until 7:00pm after which it was teens only for a movie night. Annie Quinn of SoHi was on the teen center committee and was happy to see it open, “I heard about it at a city council meeting and ever since I’ve been here helping out. This is an amazing place, I came here tonight expecting to see my SoHi friends here and ended up meeting up with some of my Skyview friends here tonight. I think that this place will be great for us to get acquainted and closer in becoming one high school next fall,” said Quinn.

According to Micciche the primary purpose of the center will be fun, “A safe place, a supervised place for young people to come and have fun doing whatever they want within the rules and if they want tutoring for their academics that will be available along with career counseling. We have computers here and the keystone program which will lead them into community service projects and a lot of positive opportunities for young people with trained professionals on site to help them,” said Micciche. Tina Patterson is the Soldotna Teen Center executive director. The new center will be open Monday – Thursday 2:30pm – 7:30pm and Friday and Saturday from 3:00pm – 9:00pm.