The City Council unanimously decided to renew the Friday Night Live initiative at last week after officials said the program proved effective in engaging teens who had previously caused trouble during the city's weekly street fair.
The city partnered with the in setting up activities for youths over the summer months during the Friday Family Festival, which had previously been a haven for teens who were "generally rude and just misbehaving," according to Lauren Vasquez, a redevlopment specialist with the city.
Vasquez said police calls for service in fell after the pilot program, which ran from June to August, was implemented.
"The program was effective in positively affecting the attitude of the youth in the park," Vasquez said.
The city paid a total of about $16,000 to implement the program last summer, and city staff recommended the budget for Friday Night Live be increased to about $22,000 next year.
The program, which provides , was embraced by teens in Old Town, Councilwoman Becky Shevlin said.
"It was really neat to see all the volunteers that came forth as well. What was so neat was the kids really felt … this was something specifically for them," Shevlin said.
Pam Fitzpatrick, owner of the Dollmakers' Kattywompus toy store in Old Town, also praised the program's effectiveness.
"We have had a growing problem with youth acting out sometimes being silly and sometimes being downright obnoxious," Fitzpatrick said. "It’s a very positive thing for the businesses in Old Town. It's not just a way to keep the youth busy but it’s a way to get them connected."