Developer offers space to teenagers

Youths and parents taken by surprise at resident’s offer


MARLBORO – Not long after their group received its status as an official municipal body, members of the Marlboro Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) were stunned when local developer Edward Kay came forward and donated a building for a teen center.

Nine of the nearly 100 members of the Teen Advisory Committee gave a presentation to the Township Council on Feb. 7. The teenagers presented ideas they have for improvements in town, including a section ofMarlboro’s InternetWeb site where they could search for part-time jobs and a “Teen Taxi.”

One of the main ideas the young people spoke about was a teen center. Brandon Ferrick, 14, told the council members how the winter leaves few options of activities for teenagers at night.

“This leads many teenagers to end up hanging out at the mall or going to unsupervised parties where there is a chance that there is a use of illegal substances,” Brandon said.

Samantha Hirsch provided council members with statistics she received from Nancy Geist, who is the coordinator of the

Marlboro Township Alliance for the Prevention of SubstanceAbuse. Samantha saidMarlboro ranked No. 18 out of 46 municipalities with 97 juvenile arrests in 2007, most of which were drug related.

“Knowing this information it is quite obvious that the teens of Marlboro need a safe haven,” Samantha said.

Spencer Kruge said teens would like to have a place where they could hang out with friends and use the space as a tutoring facility during the week.

After the teenagers had completed their presentation Kay, who is a Marlboro native and still lives in town, came forward with a few words for them. Speaking of his teenage years inMarlboro, Kay said he understood there were not many places for teens to gather.

“I have an 8,000-square-foot building and my partners may kill me, but I’m willing to donate it to these teens for their use,” Kay said.

He was referring to a building in the Triangle Business Park, Amboy Road.

Kay said the space he is willing to donate has plumbing for bathrooms and is empty, which would allow the teens to design their dream teen center.

Stunned parents and teenagers in the council’s meeting room applauded Kay for his gesture.

“Let’s make it happen,” Kay told the advisers of the TAC.

The donation of the space surprised everyone assembled in Town Hall. Deputy Mayor Larry Rosen, who is a co-adviser of the TAC, was floored by Kay’s donation.

“I had absolutely no idea that would happen, it’s amazing,” Rosen said, noting that the teens had started the group not to get things from anyone, but to find ways to improve Marlboro and to give something back to their town.

“I’ve never seen that happen,” council President Jeff Cantor said. “I can’t believe it. I’ve never seen people come together like that.”

The TAC got together in October with Rosen, Natalie Loeb and Gordon Loeb teaching the teens about government and developing their leadership skills.

“I think it’s wonderful,” parent Neil Ferrick said of the TAC. “It’s a great experience for the kids and great for the community.”

Also making the presentation to the council were Alec Loeb, Aaron Rosen, Cosmo Giancaspro, Alex Levine, Ben Kraut and Greg Doukas.

With their biggest goal – securing space for a teen center – now apparently in the process of being met, the teenagers will begin to pursue their other goals. Plans are being made for members of the TAC to help senior citizens who may not know how to use a computer. Aaron said the group has also run a trial of playing a Nintendo Wii video game with older adults.