Click HERE for a photo of the future Auburn PAL Center
Auburn, ME – U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited the Auburn Police Activities League (PAL) Center to receive a tour of the facility and discuss a $3 million grant she secured to build a new, larger facility. Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, Chief of Police & PAL President Jason Moen, and other local officials joined Senator Collins at the center.
As a leader of the Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins secured this funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that was signed into law last week. Senator Collins is the incoming Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Thanks to the vision of the Auburn Police Department and city leaders, the Auburn Police Activities League (PAL) Center has been building brighter futures by providing children with a safe, structured environment to play and learn after school; receive food, clothes, and school supplies; and build relationships with law enforcement officers who protect the local community,” said Senator Collins. “This $3 million grant will allow the Auburn PAL Center to build a larger facility that will offer expanded services for the community. I enjoyed speaking with local leaders about how transformational this funding bill be.”
‘This visit displays Senator Collins dedication to improving the lives of Mainers through impactful collaboration between federal and municipal organizations,” said Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque. “There is no better way to understand how this project will be an essential piece of eliminating generational poverty throughout this expansive neighborhood than by being here, talking with residents staff and our youth.”
“I appreciate that Senator Collins recognizes the positive impact that our PAL program has on the kids that we serve,” said Auburn Police Chief Jason Moen. “This funding will be critical to the continued success of our PAL program for years to come.”
“Auburn is deeply grateful that Senator Collins saw this opportunity to change the lives of our young people by creating a safe and caring space in the new PAL Center,” said Auburn City Manager Phil Crowell. “This new facility will impact the lives of hundreds of families every day. Many of our PAL kids’ parents are part of Auburn’s workforce, and they need a safe place for their children to spend time after school. The PAL Center has been providing that for over nine years and will now be able to serve many more children in the years to come.”
The PAL Center provides educational programs (learning about oral health care, music lessons, arts and crafts, etc.) and athletic activities for children after school and during the summer as well as positive interaction with police officers. In addition, student volunteers from Central Maine Community Colleges Law Enforcement Program engage in mentorships with children at the center. Additionally, the PAL Center offers free breakfast and lunch each morning (in partnership with the Auburn School Department) during the summer. They also have a community garden that is planted and nurtured by the children at the PAL Center and the Master Gardeners of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This year alone, the PAL Center worked in partnership with local groups to provide Thanksgiving meals to 95 people and Christmas presents and stockings to over 200 children.
The $3 million grant will be used to support the construction of a new Auburn PAL Community Center at 24 Chestnut Street, which will become the hub for mentored/supervised after-school and summer activities. The current building has far exceeded its total capacity to offer programming. The larger building will support an early childhood education and child care program, a health center, a teen center, a gym, and a commercial kitchen and food pantry.