Concerts will benefit teen center

— Oak Creek will have its own free concert series this summer.

Using three summer concerts, the revived South Routt Recreation Association, the group that helped build Oak Creek's ice rink and batting cages, is kicking off a fund-raising campaign to help build a recreation center in Oak Creek. While the concerts provide immediate summer fun for the community, music lovers will be helping support long-term entertainment for local teens.

Don Williams, president of the South Routt Recreation Association, said his group's first priority is to build a teen center in Oak Creek.

"Boredom is a huge issue in this community," Williams said. "There's just not a lot of things for kids to do."

Children who don't have transportation to Steamboat have particularly limited options, he said.

The recreation association will host the Oak Creek concert series July 17, Aug. 7 and Sept. 4 at Decker Park. All three afternoon shows will feature area bands. The specific line-up and logistics are still under negotiation, Williams said.

The recreation association will sell beer during the free concerts and is seeking participation from area restaurants to sell food. Concert organizers will request a contribution of 5 percent to 10 percent of sales from the vendors. Food and beverage proceeds are earmarked to help build the recreation center in Oak Creek.

Williams envisions a teen center that is open after school and on evenings and weekends, where teenagers can play pool, foosball, ping-pong and hang out with friends. The association has its sights set on the old parachute factory on Arthur Street, and the teen center would be the first phase of construction.

Andy Benjamin, owner of Chelsea's restaurant on Main Street, said he sees the free concerts as a good business move for Oak Creek and an opportunity to provide great amenities for local young people.

"Anything that brings additional people to this town will help all the businesses in town. We need all the help we can get," Benjamin said. As new father himself, Benjamin sees the merits of a teen center. "Any time your kid can go anywhere in a safe environment it's great to let them have that experience," he said.

--To reach Jennie Lay call 871-4210

or e-mail jlay@steamboatpilot.com

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