A space dedicated to the youth opens in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The “Chill Zone” welcomed its visitors filled with excitement on Monday.

“Two PlayStations, two Xboxes, it’s the place of my dreams,” Christopher Teague, a Chill Zone visitor, said.

In addition to video games, playing pool, throwing skeeballs, competitive air hockey and foosball, a variety of options are available.

In case they get hungry, food and drinks are offered at the cafe at a friendly price for the kids’ budget.

“They said they have noodles. I like food,” Journie Beamon, another Chill Zone visitor shared.

Compared to other costly activities the Jacksonville youths say they used to do, such as going to the mall, bowling, or the movies, all the activities at the Chill Zone can be enjoyed free of charge, or with just a quarter.

The facility found its new purpose from serving as a meeting place for the city youth council once in a while to a youth hub for kids between 12 to 17 years old, 7 days a week.

Chill Zone’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life.

“You can kind of encapsulate it in a nutshell, making our city the best place to live, work, and play,” Cindy Edwards, the Jacksonville City Council member explained.

For Jacksonville, incorporating the youth’s voice was crucial to achieving that goal. “Offer what the teens want to be a part of and that’s what is really important to us is giving them that space and that ownership,” Susan Baptist, the Jacksonville Recreational Activities director added.