POINCIANA – Next week, Poinciana’s adults will be doing a bit of celebrating, with two ribbon cutting ceremonies to mark some progress that’s been made in the community. But it’s really the kids in Poinciana who should end doing most of that celebrating.
That’s because the ribbon cuttings are all about giving kids in Poinciana a lot more fun things to do.
“Next week we have the ribbon cutting for the new football field at Vance Harmon Park,” said Jeanette Coughenour, manager of the Association of Poinciana Villages, the homeowners association for the 10 villages in Poinciana.
That even will be on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the park on Pleasant Hill Road, starting at 10:30 a.m.
It will be quickly followed by another ceremony, this one at the new Boys & Girls Club Poinciana Teen Center at 2190 S. Marigold Ave. That ceremony begins to 11:15 a.m.
“They’re done and ready to roll,” Coughenour said. “We’re excited about that.”
Both projects are designed to fill a gap in the community: the need for more youth oriented events. These projects are intended to meet two different goals, one for students who are interested in sports, the other for students who are not.
The new football field, Coughenour said, will give their football team, the Poinciana Pedators, their own field.
“We budgeted for it in our 2011 budget, and we’ve spent $88,000 on the construction of it,” Coughenour said. “There’s many, many hundreds of children who play youth football here and we also have a cheerleading program that goes with that.”
It’s particularly good news for the community’s football team, she said, since it allows them to save some money.
“Because they didn’t have a place to play, they had been leasing space from Poinciana High School to the tune of $1,000 a game,” Coughenour said. “So we made them a home field. The APV constructed it. It includes everything – border posts, player benches, bleechers, an irrigation system.”
While the APV will maintain the property, the Poinciana Predators are expected to coordinate all future games played there.
“We handle all the management and maintence of their facilities, but the league does its own signups and registration and that stuff, just like a regular city league,” Coughenour said. “It’s also cool because it’s a feeder program for our high school.”
The Poinciana Teen Center will be different. Before it opened, Coughenour said the association recognized that not all teens play sports, so the APV reached out to the Central Florida Boys and Girls Club, which agreed to create a center for youth activities. It’s a place where young people between the ages of 12 and 18 can go to spend time, study, and hang out. It offers them gaming equipment, a computer lab area, and a study area.
The teen center, which had a soft opening in July, is in a 2,400-square-foot facility that handles 50 to 60 teens a day, and is geared to kids ages 12 to 18.
“The Association of Poinciana Villages committed to three years of full funding for this,” Coughenour said. “During 2011, we are spending $172,489, and there will be funding in place approved for the next two years as well. They’re utilizing a building owned by the APV, and it’s really nice, too. It’s sensational. We’re doing the ribbon cutting next Tuesday, but they’re actually open right now, and they will have a grand opening in September for it. They’ve got lots of things they’re planning on doing, so it’s very cool.”
It also fits in with the community’s plans for a big birthday bash next year. Poinciana will be exactly 40 years old next spring, Coughenour said.
“The first residents arrived here 40 years ago,” she said. “Our actual birthday will be May of next year. All lof these things we’re doing – including the investment in our youth — falls in line with our 40th anniversary.“
In fact, on Monday, Aug. 8, the Osceola County commissioners will issue a proclamation for Poinciana’s 40th anniverdsary during the regular commission meeting that begins at 1:30 p.m. at the county municipal building in downtown Kissimmee. If that sounds a bit early to be marking a birthday that’s still nine months away, Coughenour added, “We’re already doing some things, ready to commemorate our 40th anniversary, and Osceola County decided they would like to do this, and offered to do this. There will also be holiday decorations that will go up around November. We’re going to be doing a lot between now and then.”
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