CADILLAC — Organizers are looking for a little push to get the ball rolling on their efforts to open a new youth center in Cadillac.

A fundraising banquet this Thursday just might do the trick.

Never Down For The Count Youth Services will be hosting the event starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Evergreen Resort.

Dana Wilson, organizer of the proposed center, said tickets for the event cost $25, which will pay for a dinner of chicken cordon bleu, New York strip steak and some side dishes.

There also will be a cash bar for beverages.

During the dinner, Wilson said they will provide an update as to where in the process they are and how much money they need before work can begin.

In May, Wilson unveiled a conceptual drawing for the proposed facility, located at 207 River St. in Cadillac — which is currently an unused industrial building.

He said they will need about $500,000 to completely renovate the facility but they will begin demolition as soon as they reach $100,000.

Once they reach their initial goal of $100,000, Wilson said they will replace the roof and demolish a portion of the building and replace it with parking spaces and a basketball court.

In December of last year, Wilson announced the project received its first big “shot in the arm‘ through a donation of $10,000 from an anonymous retired businessman.

At this point, they still need $90,000 before work can begin.

After the roof is complete and they are sure water won’t be leaking into the building, the upstairs with the kitchen and computer lab will be the focus. People will phase in once that part of the building is ready, as a main part of this program is for kids to get a healthy snack and get mentored for school, Wilson said.

He believes the center could have a long-term impact of getting kids a plan, whether it’s for college, the military or a trade.

The youth center won’t be a “drop in and hang out‘ place, but rather a place where kids can get some “life development.‘ The goal is to get them to graduate.

The center will be funded through volunteers, donations and grants. Grants are more accessible for existing programs and if they can raise the $100,000 locally they will demonstrate that the program has local support, Wilson said.

He wants the demolition and roof done this year and as soon as that’s done they can work on the inside of the building in earnest.

Anyone interested in attending the banquet is asked to RSVP by calling Wilson at (231) 884-7776.

To follow the progress of the project, “like‘ Never Down for the Count Youth Services on Facebook.

Cadillac News