BOULDER — The Panther Pit in Boulder held its grand open on Sunday March 27th , ushering in a new community space for teenagers to gather and have fun.
“There is always in small towns never enough to do, right? So, we wanted to give them a place to come to,” said Beverly Jones, former owner of the Video Café.
Beverly and her husband, Jeff Jones offered free lunches to high school students and a place for them to go after school, but after the building was sold, a vital part of the community left with it.
After six months of renovations, the Panther Pit is filling the hole the Video Café left, all thanks to Stuart Goodner and his wife, plus the volunteers they recruited.
“We raised three girls, and it was always important to us to know where they were and be in a safe environment. That’s what we are trying to provide, and we are trying to provide a place where kids want to be and where the parents want them to be,” said Goodner.
On the opening day teens agree that Panther Pit is the place to be.
“It’s really fun because it has a lot of cool places to hang out, and it's nice to have teens have a place to relax a little bit, and that’s what I am enjoying,” said Grace Day, a Boulder 15-year-old.
“I think it’s a really good addition to the town because it makes Boulder more fun, and it is a place for kids to go and make more friends,” said Rebekah Warren, Boulder 12-year-old.
For longtime resident and Montana Highway Patrolman Matthew Wilson, the center helps ensure teenagers' safety in the community.
“This gives teens a safe place to go where they can hang out with their friends, without feeling pressure to do something that they wouldn’t want to do or get into some sort of trouble that they may otherwise not get into,” said Wilson.
The Panther Pit hopes to kick off free lunches the week of April 4th and will be open for two days a week for an hour and a half for high schoolers.
Members of the community will also be available to reserve the building for events.
Stuart Goodner says it took a whole village to make the Panther Pit a reality.
“So many people from the mayor of the town to people at our church have volunteered time and energy to get this done, it has been a long process, but we finally got this done," said Goodner
The Panther Pit still needs a few items:
- -Cup of Noodle packs
- -Creamy Peanut Butter
- -Jelly (grape)
- -Whole Dill pickles
- -fruit cups
- -Liters of soda
- -Gallons of juice
- -Fresh vegetables
- -Fresh fruit
- -Garbage bags
- -Paper towels
- -Hand soap
- -Dish soap
- -Paper plates
- -Paper cups