Home Local News Maddox awards Lovington $350,000 for youth center

Maddox awards Lovington $350,000 for youth center

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Maddox awards Lovington $350,000 for youth center

Christina Holt/News-Sun

LOVINGTON — The City of Lovington’s Youth Center has been closed since the onset of COVID restrictions in 2020, but will soon be able to reopen with a funding grant from the J.F. Maddox Foundation.

The J.F. Maddox Foundation conducted social services need assessment last year which included interviews with community members and a survey, J.F Maddox Foundation COO David Reed said.

“What was identified is a need for activities for youth and young families,” Reed said.

COVID closed down the youth center, but shortly after the closure the City of Lovington experienced a budget crisis that kept the facility closed, Lovington City Manager David Miranda said.

The Foundation’s funding of $350,000 will allow the city to make renovations to the youth center so it can reopen.

Miranda said the facility was built in the 1970’s and there are things that need updated so kids can use the center.

The renovations for the youth center include:

• New insulation and lighting for the gym

• HVAC upgrades

• Plumbing repairs

• Fire suppression system

• Security cameras

• Security system

• Kitchen upgrades

• WiFi and I.T. upgrades

• Wall and ceiling repair

• (15) Desktop computers

“We need something to help our youth and our families,” Lovington Mayor Robbie Roberts said.

The goal is to have a limited opening this summer, but it’s unclear how long the renovations will take, Miranda said.

The summer opening will be a pilot project to see what the youth center will be able to do because it may need more assistance at a later time, Reed explained.

“Hopefully it’s responsive to the needs assessment,” Reed said, “The need is high, and one program won’t solve it, but we are hoping it will get it started.”

Though the City of Lovington experienced financial hardship over the last few years, it is doing well now, officials said.

In 2021, New Mexico House Bill 6 caused the City of Lovington to lose about $2.5 million a year, Lovington Commissioner David Trujillo, Dist. 1, said.

With the combination whammy of COVID restrictions and House Bill 6, the City of Lovington struggled with maintaining operations. Unfortunately, the youth center was the first to go, Trujillo said.

The city had a good couple of years, and now has a good budget, Roberts and Trujillo said.

The city will be able to properly staff and open the youth center now that the budget is healthy, Trujillo added.

We are “really bringing our city back,” Roberts said.

The youth center plans to offer basketball, volleyball, arts and crafts workshops, dance, video games, snacks and more.

And, the city is getting guidance from the Hobbs Boys and Girls Club to get the youth center running, Miranda said.

Miranda expressed his gratitude for the generosity shown by the J.F. Maddox Foundation.

“The Maddox Foundation continues to demonstrate that they truly have a vested interest in the future of Lovington through the funding of meaningful projects which benefit our community,” Miranda said.

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