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October 9, 2011

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Andover Youth Foundation organizers, who petitioned the Board of Selectmen to call a Special Town Meeting to seek funding for a new youth center, will have to call the gathering themselves. Selectmen decided Monday to ask the foundation to gather the minimum 200 signatures that would require the board to call the Special Town Meeting, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 5. Diane Costagliola, foundation chairwoman, said organizers understand the selectmen’s decision and that they don’t care how the town meeting comes about, as long as it happens. Although the foundation has collected $2 million in donations for the project, some donors have stated they would redirect their gifts to other area projects if the youth center fails to get town commitment soon, Costagliola said. The foundation, which was forced to seek funding from taxpayers after the state deemed the youth center a public project, has committed to asking the town for at most a $2 million match to avoid the need for a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion. She said organizers hope to turn the required signatures in by the week of Oct. 24. - Katheleen Conti