City of Decatur offers temporary location fix for youth services division

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DECATUR, Ala. – “It was very good for us, our numbers were going up and we were able to help a lot of students and youth just from the community,” said Lemzel Johnson, lead programs coordinator with Decatur Youth Services.

The group occupied the old Brookhaven Middle School campus.

“There were some issues with the soil up under it because it was a school that was built on the landfill,” Johnson explained. “So, there were some issues that were coming up that need to be tested again.”

Johnson said the old location was city-centric, perfect for serving kids from all over the area.

The group said they had plans for this site here on the former campus of Brookhaven middle school, plans that would give students the life skills that they need to become productive members of society.

3M and the City of Decatur are testing the land on which the school was built.

Since the city closed the school, the group has been trying to operate and serve over a thousand kids out of its main office and Decatur’s Aquadome.

More recently,  the city also offered up the Fort Decatur Rec center to use for after school programming.

But officials said there are sometimes scheduling conflicts.

“In the end, we still need our space, because it’s kind of like being a stepchild,” added Johnson. “Yes you’re in  another person’s space but you’re not quite fitting in just right.”

Ultimately, Decatur Youth Services said serving kids is most important, no matter where it takes place.

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