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McAlester teen plans to open youth center

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Posted at 8:41 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 21:41:27-04

McAlester -- A Green Country teenager with plans to create a safe place for teens is asking the community's help to secure the building. 

Across town from the water tower, there's a brick building that has aged. The awnings are deteriorating and greenery is overgrown.

“It’s a neat old building and it just needs a life," Icehouse Youth Project Founder Aaron Abney said. 

It was built in 1892 and originally was a freezer for ice, but most recently, a restaurant and concert venue. 

“It just needs a little bit of love in it," Abney said. 

Now, a soon-to-be safe haven for teens.

“When it was first built, it was called the Ice House and in all of our contacts in our phones like my mom, dad and grandparents, it’s in case of emergency," Abney said. 

Abney recently moved to McAlester from Kentucky and need something to preoccupy his time. So he created The Icehouse Youth Project. 

“I have close family members that are dealing with drugs and alcohol and our house was the safe house," he said.

Kevin Beaty met Abney through a friend at church and immediately fell in love with the idea. 

“We want to bring in counselors, educators, have drug awareness classes, GED classes and tutoring because I mean our state is broke," he said.

After getting a non-profit license this past may, almost $100,000 is needed to purchase the building. So far, they've raised just under $3,000.

“We’re look at about $250,000 to open the doors," Icehouse Youth Project Executive Director Kevin Beaty said. 

Habitat for Humanity already wants to help. 

“They’ve offered us volunteers to come and do the restoration of the building," Beaty said. 

With hopes to open the doors next spring, a facelift could be in the works.

There is a car raffle on Sept. 16 and a 5K on Sept. 30. 

If you'd like to donate, click here

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