• Grand opening set for 6-8 p.m. Friday
The Midtown Cafe for young people moved this week from its lease on Pioneer Avenue by the Refuge Chapel to the Kachemak Bay Center, downstairs by the former Division of Motor Vehicles office.
The public is invited to a grand opening from 6-8 p.m. Friday where they can tour the new space.
Midtown Cafe director Rob Way said the Refuge Chapel Building space was no longer available, and there were definite advantages to moving.
“Having our own location gives us the ability to hold more events,” Way said. “It’s a little smaller, but there is actually more useable space. It has an open floor plan, so it’s easy to monitor what’s going on.”
Way said it also puts the cafe that much closer to Homer High School, so it offers a community place for teens to go for healthy activities.
The Midtown Cafe has functioned as a youth Internet cafe and game room. It serves inexpensive snacks and opens computers stations for teens and kids to use in a safe, supervised atmosphere.
Way said they are increasing the number of computers from 5 to about 10, and continue game tables like air hockey and big screens for video games. The cafe is working to obtain a larger TV to host “movie nights” for young people.
“We’re also working on offering a hot lunch for high school students. We will be opening at 11 a.m. and can serve hot pizza and soda and chips,” he said. “With everything going on in the high school, students are suffering just as much if not more than the community. This puts us in a strategic position to help them negotiate the stuff they have to deal with.”
Regular hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 3-10 p.m., plus lunch hours. The cafe is open noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and volunteers and donations are always needed.
“Volunteers help a lot and we could use more. There is an application process for volunteering. If they have a heart for mentoring kids, we’re into that,” Way said. “If they have financial resources, that’s a big help. Rent is a little bit more here. So part of what we do is contact business leaders in the community to invest financially or with resources like a couch or video game systems.”
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