ALBURY’S new $1.39 million youth cafe is tipped to reduce “segregation” and allow teens to “connect face-to-face rather than online”.
The Retro Lane Cafe was opened by mayor Kevin Mack on Friday.
An extension of the city’s library-museum building it looks over QEII Square.
Albury youth council member Isabella Percy, 16, said it would be a welcomed hangout.
“It’s a really great environment to cut out segregation and build more of a sense of community, which I think has been lost, and for people to connect face-to-face rather than online,” Isabella said.
“I think it’s important for the centre of town to be youth-friendly because this is where we come to socialise and it’s important to have some space to connect rather just walk by each other in the shops.”
Retro Youth management committee member Milla Reid, 18, said the cafe would be “good for building community spirit”.
The cafe will open Monday to Saturday, with music gigs pushing its Friday closing time to 9pm.
Cr Mack praised the patience of the city’s youth who have waited since April 2014 for a replacement for the Retro Youth Cafe which occupied Burrows House which has since become part of the MAMA gallery.
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said cafes played a key role in fostering thought.
“The cafe is a natural location for much more than just socialising,” Mr Aplin told the audience.
“The right cafe can become a hub for discussion and for planning action in a community.
“So JK Rowling’s cafe was for her a place of quiet and of bliss; but for Soviet Lenin, the Americans overthrowing tyrannical rule in their War of Independence and Les Miserables era French, cafes were potent places of revolution.
“I hope when you and your friends and the young people of the Border meet at the Retro Lane youth cafe they explore at least a little of both peace and revolution.”
Mr Mack said the unlicensed cafe was not limited to youth.
In addition to music shows, the cafe will offer traineeships, after school and school holiday programs, homework and study assistance and workshops for resume writing and the arts.