By Sara Brown
For Kids Only (FKO) Afterschool is seeking a special permit to construct a second floor addition to their 85 Broadway building.
For Kids Only Afterschool strives to support the needs of children and families through academic, recreational and social opportunities that enhance school day learning and build upon individual strengths and interests necessary for lifelong success. FKO programs focus on the individual strengths and needs of each child and aims to provide engaging and enriching activities for children in all areas of development: socio-emotional, cognitive, language and physical.
“We really want to expand learning opportunities and support working families,” Executive Director Deborah A. Kneeland Keegan said.
For Kids Only Afterschool has been in Revere since 1998. They were in a smaller building until four years ago. Keegan said they outgrew the original building. The 85 Broadway building will service up to 120 students.
“There are no negatives to this. You get 120 kids off the street. There is nothing better to do for kids than to give them something to do after school,” Ward 1 Councillor Richard Penta said at Monday night’s city council meeting.
Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto wondered if the Afterschool program would consider agreeing to a Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreement, since they are a nonprofit and could pay no taxes.
Keegan said they would agree to that. The executive director also agreed to promise that a certain percentage of students, which will be determined later, will be from Revere. Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Reardon proposed the idea. The new building is on the Revere-Chelsea border.
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso approved of the idea. “We don’t want our neighbors to take advantage of us and Chelsea put all their kids there. It’s not about picking and choosing, it’s just about protecting our kids,” Guinasso said.
“This will truly be Revere’s program and Revere’s building,” Keegan responded.
The program will run from Monday to Friday after school is dismissed, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.; with summer hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is also a transportation plan to stage arrivals and dismissals within the parking lot so they don’t impede traffic.
Keegan said she plans on working with Revere Public Schools and to foster a close relationship with them. “My intention is to work with the public schools and align what we are teaching to what the schools are doing,” she said.
Many of the councillors expressed their excitement over this new addition to the city.
“I have heard nothing but positive things about this program,” Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino said.
“There is a need within the community for this. This is fabulous,” Councillor-at-Large Robert Haas added.
Len Piazza, who is active with the Afterschool program, says the staff is wonderful. “The individuals who work there are very dedicated. This would be a worthwhile project for Revere,” Piazza said.
The application will be going to the zoning subcommittee for further review and to the Zoning Board of Appeals this week for a parking variance.